It will be a tough decision, but the Tewaaraton Award, given annually to America's most outstanding college lacrosse player, should go to Albany junior attackman Lyle Thompson on Thursday.
There can be a strong argument for Duke attackman Jordan Wolf, but no player had more of an impact on the game this season than Thompson.
Wolf finished with 64 goals and 29 assists playing in the most competitive conference ever, the ACC, and he also had two goals and four assists in the Blue Devils' 11-9 championship win over Notre Dame.
But Wolf also had a strong supporting cast. To beat Duke, an opposing team also had to stop the five other offensive players, including midfielders Myles Jones and Christian Walsh. The Blue Devils didn’t have a strong second midfield at the beginning of the year, but they did at the end.
America East can’t compare to the ACC as far as competition and balance, but Albany’s offense ran through Thompson. His Division I record of 128 points in a single season might never be broken. Thompson also tied a Division I record with 77 assists.
Thompson’s style and flair was an attraction for kids, especially late in the season. Overall, no one in lacrosse was as dominant.
He was the total package.
** When Duke called a timeout with a one-goal lead late in Monday's championship game, you knew Wolf was going to get the ball.
He did, split two defenders in the corner and scored an empty net goal with 23.6 seconds left to seal the win for the Blue Devils. The week before, Wolf made the same move with the same result to hold off Johns Hopkins in a quarterfinal win.
It’s good to have stick skills but a blessing to have speed. You can’t coach speed.
** If the NCAA and local lacrosse folks want to increase attendance, they should decrease ticket prices.
For the three-day event, a ticket cost $79 and parking was $59. If a family of four purchased tickets, that’s almost $400 without buying any food or paying for a hotel.
Also, the sport has been hurt by its own success. With the games being televised by ESPN, it’s cheaper to stay at home than to shell out money and go to M&T Bank Stadium.
It’s still a great show, and the event needs to be in Baltimore consistently. The sport and this city go hand and hand.
** Head coach Kevin Corrigan has done a great job at Notre Dame, but that constant whining with officials needs to go. Lacrosse coaches argue with officials almost as much as their counterparts in college basketball.
Talent wise, we haven’t heard the last from Notre Dame. The whining, though, needs to stay in South Bend.
** Denver coach Bill Tierney sounded a lot like former Syracuse coach Roy Simmons Jr. when he used to lose a big game. Simmons always predicteded his team would return to the top.
“Cream always rises to the top,” used to be one of Simmons’ favorite sayings. Tierney said something similar after Denver lost to Duke in the semifinals.
“I'm really excited about those possibilities,” said Tierney of next year’s team. “We've got an amazing group coming in next year. We're going to lose the heart and soul of our team in Jeremy Noble, but there will be other hearts and other souls. As I said last year, we'll be back, and you guys are going to get tired of us until you see us celebrate for this thing.”
** The Terps need to improve on offense. At times Maryland became stagnant, even defending themselves because they didn’t use the full field.
The Terps seemed comfortable in attacking one side or one quarter of the field while the other offensive players did a lot of standing.