Maryland's Taylor Cummings and Megan Douty are among the five finalists announced Thursday for the women's Tewaaraton Award, given annually to the best player in college lacrosse.
This is the second straight year the Terps have had two finalists. Katie Schwarzmann, who won the last two Tewaaratons, was joined by Alex Aust last season.
Maryland players have won three of the past four Tewaaraton Awards and four in its 13-year history. In addition to Schwarzmann (Century), Caityln McFadden (Notre Dame Prep) won in 2010 and Jen Adams, now the coach at Loyola Maryland, won the first one in 2001.
This spring, Cummings and Douty are two key reasons why the No. 1 Terps (19-1) are the top overall seed for the NCAA tournament after winning their sixth straight Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Cummings, a first team All-American last year as a freshmen, plays a key midfield role, leading the Terps in draw controls (101), ground balls (30) and caused turnovers (27) while standing third in scoring with 51 goals and 23 assists. The ACC Freshman of the Year last season and a two-time All-ACC first-team selection, Cummings is a former two-time All-Metro Player of the Year who led McDonogh to four IAAM A Conference championships.
Douty, a junior from Fair Haven, N.J., has been the backbone of a Maryland defense that has surrendered just 8.0 goals per game while playing in the toughest conference in the country and playing one of the most difficult schedules in Division I. The ACC Defender of the Year, she has 27 ground balls and 16 caused turnovers.
"I'm super excited for them, excited for our program," Terps coach Cathy Reese said. "With Megan getting ACC Defender of the Year, that was such a high honor, and it's hard for defenders to make that (Tewaaraton) list and to be in that discussion, so that's a huge credit to her.
"Taylor just does so much for our team as a midfielder -- on the offensive end, on the defensive end and on the draws, so it's a credit to them but I also think it's a credit to our team and the success our team has had this season."
Team success certainly has something to do with who makes the final list, because such high-level players help drive that success. All five finalists come from Top 4 teams and four hail from the ACC, which with the addition of No. 2 Syracuse and No. 12 Notre Dame this season was perhaps the best women's lacrosse conference ever.
Syracuse, which the Terps beat 13-7 in the ACC tournament championship, also has two nominees -- Kayla Treanor and Alyssa Murray. No. 4 Florida's Shannon Gilroy also made the final cut.
Reese, whose Terps depart the ACC for the Big Ten next season, wasn't surprised by four players coming from the ACC.
"You look at the [NCAA tournament bracket] and six of eight seeded teams are ACC schools, so I think that says it right there. The conference has been so strong all year. There's so many great programs and it's a shame when you get to this point that you can only acknowledge five, because there are so many players that have had phenomenal seasons."
The Terps have strong competition for the Tewaaraton.
Like Cummings, Treanor was a first-team All-American last year as a freshman. She leads the nation in scoring with 102 points and is second in goals with 70. The ACC Offensive Player of the Year, she scored four or more goals in nine games and had seven when the Orange (18-2) upset defending national champion and then-No. 1 North Carolina, 12-9, in the regular season.
Murray, the only senior among the finalists, also made the top five last season. One of the most prolific attackers in Syracuse history, she had 51 goals and 37 assists this season and is second on the Orange's career scoring list with 340 goals. She's only the second Syracuse player to reach 300 points, 200 goals and 100 assists for her career.
Gilroy, a junior midfielder, led the Gators (17-2) to the American Lacrosse Conference championship. She leads Division I in goals with 80 and ranks third in points with 98. The ALC Midfield Player of the Year, she set 11 program records this spring.
The winners for the men's and women's Tewaaraton Awards will be announced May 29 at a ceremony in Washington.
The ACC has won more women's Tewaaratons than any other conference. In addition to Schwarzmann, McFadden and Adams, Duke's Katie Chrest (Maryvale) won in 2005 and Virginia's Amy Appelt, now co-coach at UMBC, won in 2004.