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Liam Byrnes Named 2016 Big East Men's Lacrosse Defensive Player Of The Year

KABLAMMO! Big day for the Golden Eagles as the Big East announces the end of year awards.

Liam Byrnes: The best defensive player in the Big East.
Liam Byrnes: The best defensive player in the Big East.

In a voting result that you saw coming if you're a loyal reader of this website, Marquette's Liam Byrnes was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday.

Byrnes was also one of two Golden Eagles to be named to the All-Big East First Team, along with junior attacker Ryan McNamara.  Five more Marquette players - goalie Cole Blazer, attacker Conor Gately, defenseman B.J. Grill, short stick defensive midfielder Jacob Richard, and faceoff specialist Zachary Melillo - were all named to the all-conference second team.

In addition to correctly and accurately predicting the winner of DPOY, this website also correctly and accurately predicted that Denver's Connor Cannizzaro would be Offensive Player of the Year, Denver's Alex Ready would be Goalie of the Year, and Denver's Bill Tierney would be Coach of the Year.  Before I break my arm patting myself on the back, I have to admit that those picks all seemed grossly obvious, given the statistical profiles of all of the players and the fact that Denver is #1 in the country after winning the national championship last year.  In fact, Byrnes was the biggest guess of a pick, but that has more to do with very few statistics being able to help figure out who is doing the best job on defense.

There was a slight bit of miscalculation when it comes to Midfielder of the Year.  My pick was Trevor Baptiste, Denver's faceoff specialist.  The miscalculation comes in with Baptiste ended up in a tie with Villanova's Jack Curran.  Seems like there's a segment of the coaches that didn't want to vote for a FOGO for a second year in a row, regardless of how dominant he was (4th best in the country), and instead went for Curran, the best scoring midfielder in the conference.

Here's the all-Big East First Team, featuring Byrnes and McNamara:

Tate Boyce, Providence, GK
Alex Ready, Denver, GK
Connor Cannizzaro, Denver, Jr. A ^
Ryan McNamara, Marquette, Jr., A ^
Eric DeJohn, St. John's, RS-Sr., A (at-large selection)
Jake Froccaro, Villanova, Jr., A ^
Zach Miller, Denver, Jr., M ^
Tyler Pace, Denver, Jr., M ^
Jack Curran, Villanova, Sr., M ^
Christian Burgdorf, Denver, Jr., D ^
Liam Byrnes, Marquette, Grad., D
Jarrod Neumann, Providence, Jr., D^
Trevor Baptiste, Denver, So., FOS ^
Sean Mayle, Denver, So., LSM
Charlie Ford, Georgetown, Jr., LSM

This all-league team continues the track record of predictions this year, as nine of the 11 players on my predicted team are on the official team.  Of course, that's what happens when you have a 15 player First team.  I missed on the defenders on the team other than Byrnes, picking Marquette's B.J. Grill and Villanova's John Moderski instead of Neumann and Burgdorf.  When ground balls and caused turnovers are the only statistic that you can use to measure defensive players, and ground balls tend to get dominated by faceoff guys, picking defenders can kind of be a crap shoot.

I think it's kind of weird that Burgdorf and Neumann are unanimous choices for the all-BE First Team, but Byrnes isn't.  Makes you wonder how he won a vote for the best defensive player in the league, doesn't it?

We'll wrap up with the All-Big East Second Team, which includes five Golden Eagles along with Georgetown's Daniel Bucaro, the 2016 Freshman of the Year:

Cole Blazer, Marquette, So., GK
Jack Bobzien, Denver, Sr., A
James Bonanno, St. John's, RS-Sr., M
Daniel Bucaro, Georgetown, Fr., A
Joe Bucci, Georgetown, Grad., M
Jason DeBenedictis, St. John's, So., A
Joey Froccaro, Villanova, Jr., M
Conor Gately, Marquette, Sr., A
B.J. Grill, Marquette, Grad., D
Devin McNamara, Villanova, Jr., A
Will Mazzone, Providence, Sr., A
Zachary Melillo, Marquette, So., FOS
John Moderski, Villanova, Sr., D
Mike Perettine, Providence, Sr., M
Jacob Richard, Marquette, Sr., SSDM