Lost in the hoopla preceding the NCAA tournament first-round games over the weekend was the announcement of the five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award, which is annually given to the top collegiate player.
Inside Lacrosse has the list, which includes three seniors and two juniors.
The seniors are Syracuse goalkeeper John Galloway and long-stick midfielder Joel White and Army attackman Jeremy Boltus. The juniors are Cornell attackman Rob Pannell and Virginia attackman Steele Stanwick.
Many of the ESPN analysts whom I pester for their perspective on the sport – former Johns Hopkins All-American goalie Quint Kessenich, former Syracuse All-American midfielder Paul Carcaterra and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon – have said that the award is Pannell's to lose.
Pannell finished the regular season as the only player in Division I averaging more than five points per game (5.47), and he also ranked second in assists (3.00) and ninth in goals (2.47).
Stanwick, a Baltimore native and Loyola graduate, was eighth in points (3.77), and Galloway was fourth in goals-against average (6.77) and 11th in save percentage (.567).
The surprises were the inclusion of both White and Boltus. White is widely regarded as the top player at this position, but a case could be made that Villanova senior Brian Karalunas or Georgetown senior Barney Ehrmann were just as imposing as White. And White's average of 1.53 caused turnovers per game is lower than that of teammates John Lade (1.62) and Brian Megill (1.60).
Boltus led the nation in assists per game (3.07) and ranked third in points (4.67), but Army did not qualify for the postseason. A candidate's full season must be taken into account, and that should include the NCAA tournament. (Full disclosure: Kessenich did not agree and said he had no problem keeping Boltus among the finalists).
Of the other candidates who were on list of 25 potential finalists when it was released for public consumption on April 18, I would've gone with Duke senior attackman Zach Howell and Maryland senior attackman Ryan Young.
Howell leads the Blue Devils, the reigning NCAA champions, in both goals (42) and points (58). Young is pacing the Terps in both assists (24) and points (43).