The 19th annual Tewaaraton Award ceremony in Washington on Thursday night had a Maryland flavor to it as seniors Pat Spencer of Loyola Maryland and Megan Taylor of Maryland were honored as the nation’s top male and female college lacrosse players this past season.
Spencer, an attackman from Davidsonville who graduated from Boys’ Latin, is the first player in Greyhounds history to capture the Tewaaraton since its inception in 2001. Taylor, a Glenelg graduate, is the first goalkeeper to win the award and the sixth Terps women’s player to do so.
Spencer and Taylor were honored at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.
Spencer was the Greyhounds’ fifth Tewaaraton finalist and the sixth three-time finalist in the history of the award.
Spencer is the first player to claim the distinction despite his team failing to capture the NCAA Division I championship since 2016 when then-senior attackman Dylan Molloy was honored after Brown lost to Maryland in the NCAA tournament semifinals.
The Tewaaraton caps a stellar career for Spencer. He became the NCAA’s all-time leader in assists with 231 and finished second in points with 380 — both of which set records for the Patriot League and Loyola. His 65 assists and 114 points this season are both conference and program single-season marks, and his 49 goals rank sixth in Greyhounds history.
“This is obviously a special night for Loyola University Maryland, our program and the Spencer family,” coach Charley Toomey said in a written statement. “It has been a joy to watch the development of Pat through high school and his final lacrosse game collegiately. People see what Pat brings to the program on the field, but as the head coach, I appreciate everything that he has brought to Loyola lacrosse in the classroom and in the locker room.”
Spencer was recognized as the Lt. Raymond J. Enners Award winner as Division I’s most outstanding player, the first player in Patriot League history to be named the Offensive Player of the Year in four consecutive years, and the school’s first four-time All American. He was the overall No. 1 pick by the Archers LC in the Premier Lacrosse League’s draft in April, but he is contemplating using a final year of eligibility to play college basketball.
Spencer beat out a pool of candidates that included Penn State redshirt junior attackman Grant Ament, who set the NCAA single-season record for assists with 96 and matched the tournament record of 25 points in three games; Maryland junior attackman Jared Bernhardt, who became only the third player in program history to score 50 goals in a season with 51; Yale junior faceoff specialist TD Ierlan, who led Division I in faceoff percentage (.757) and ground balls (293); and Princeton junior attackman Michael Sowers, who established school records in single-season points with 90 and all-time points with 255.
On the women’s side, Taylor extended Maryland’s mastery of the award as a Terps player has earned the distinction in eight of the past 10 years.
After attacker Jen Adams, the current Loyola Maryland coach, claimed the inaugural honor in 2001, Maryland has boasted winners in midfielder Caitlyn (McFadden) Phipps in 2010, midfielder Katie Schwarzmann in 2012 and 2013, midfielder Taylor Cummings in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and midfielder Zoe Stukenberg in 2017.
Taylor led the top-seeded Terps (22-1) to their 14th NCAA championship and their fifth since 2010 with Sunday’s 12-10 win over No. 2 seed Boston College. She anchored a defense that finished the season ranked fifth in the nation at 8.1 goals per game and held No. 4 seed Northwestern and the Eagles to more than four and more than six goals, respectively, under their season averages.
Taylor ranked second in the country in both save percentage at .551 and total saves at 217 and fifth in goals-against average at 8.44. She was the Big Ten Goaltender of the Year for all four seasons, was named the NCAA tournament’s Most Outstanding Player on Sunday, and wrapped up her career ranked second in program history in total saves with 740.
“She is just one of a kind and the best goalie in college lacrosse and the best goalie I have seen,” Maryland coach Cathy Reese said after Sunday’s win. “She can light up a room with her smile. She can make people laugh around her. She has the ability to reset in the cage. I don’t have that ability. So I admire that about her. But she can kind of take a deep breath, reset. … To go through our program in four years as a four-year starter and having won two national championships, that resonates pretty good.”
Taylor was only the second goalie to be named a Tewaaraton finalist, joining Mikey Meagher of Florida in 2013. Taylor was the 21st overall selection by the New York Fight in the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League draft in April.
“From day one, she really set the tone for Maryland’s defense, and if you look at their performance this weekend, she anchored a defensive unit that held Northwestern and Boston College in check, which is a really tough thing to do,” said Halley Quillinan Griggs, women’s editor for Inside Lacrosse and a four-time All-American attacker at Syracuse. “She was .500 or above in both of those outings, and she was facing shots from [Northwestern senior attacker] Selena Lasota, [Boston College graduate student attacker] Kenzie Kent, [Boston College senior attacker] Sam Apuzzo, [Boston College senior mifielder] Dempsey Arcenault and [Northwestern freshman midfielder] Izzy Scane – some of the best players not only in the NCAA but in the world. So she blew me away this weekend.”
Taylor was one of two Terps finalists for the Tewaaraton along with senior midfielder Jen Giles, the Big Ten Midfielder of the Year who ranked ninth in school history in career goals with 179. The other finalists were Boston College senior attacker Sam Apuzzo, the 2018 Tewaaraton Award winner who is the program’s all-time leader in goals (283), points (397) and draw controls (458); Boston College senior midfielder Dempsey Arsenault, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Midfielder of the Year who led the team in ground balls (44) and ranked second in goals (65); and Northwestern senior attacker Selena Lasota, the Big Ten Attacker of the Year who led the conference in goals (85) and points (104).