The 2018 season has not even begun, and Loyola Maryland’s Pat Spencer and Maryland’s Connor Kelly are already earning national bouquets.
Spencer, a junior attackman, and Kelly, a senior midfielder, are two of 11 players on the inaugural Preseason Player of the Year watch list as organized by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association.
Spencer, a Davidsonville resident and Boys’ Latin graduate, finished last year ranked fourth in Division I in total points with 83 and second in total assists with 55 en route to being named one of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award, college lacrosse’s version of the Heisman Trophy.
He became the first player in Patriot League history to be named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year in his freshman and sophomore seasons, and is only 23 assists shy of passing the league’s career record of 142 set by Army’s Tim Pearson (1999-2002).
Kelly led the Terps with 46 goals, which were the most by a midfielder in program history and tied for the eighth-highest total in the country last spring. He ranks 23rd in school history in goals with 82.
The Big Ten tournament’s Most Valuable Player and a first-team All American, Kelly was one of only three college players on the 49-member U.S. men’s national team roster.
Three other Tewaaraton Award finalists — Denver senior faceoff specialist Trevor Baptiste, Albany senior attackman Connor Fields and Yale senior attackman Ben Reeves — made the list. The other six players are Penn State junior attackman Grant Ament, sophomore faceoff specialist Gerard Arceri and junior defenseman Chris Sabia, Ohio State sophomore attackman Tre Leclaire and senior defenseman Ben Randall, and Notre Dame senior long-stick midfielder John Sexton.
The list left out some notable candidates. Duke senior attackman Justin Guterding ranked second in the nation in scoring last year with 97 points.
Princeton attackman Michael Sowers, Cornell attackman Jeff Teat and Denver attackman Ethan Walker scored 82, 72 and 72 points, respectively, as freshmen. Lehigh junior long-stick midfielder Craig Chick (South River) was tied for third in the nation in caused turnovers with 40. Marist redshirt senior Brian Corrigan and Hofstra senior Jack Concannon ranked second and fifth, respectively, in save percentage.
The list was composed by the USILA’s All-America Committee. Updates will be announced in March and April, and the pool will be trimmed to three finalists May 7. The winner will be announced during championship weekend May 26-28 in Foxborough, Mass.