Everyone has just one Big East lacrosse game left to play, and all of those are coming up on Saturday afternoon, so that means it’s time to pick some postseason awards. The Big East tournament starts on Thursday in Rhode Island, so keep your eyes peeled for the official awards sometime next week.
Here we go...........
Offensive Player And Midfielder of the Year: Jack Curran, Villanova
I am fully prepared to be wrong about this, well, at least the OPOY part. Curran should end up with MOTY either way. Denver’s Connor Cannizzarro, the preseason OPOY, was named Offensive Player of the Week four times this season in an 11 week season to this point. That might be enough to end up carrying him to the yearly award. However, Curran is the only player in the league averaging more than three goals per game, and he’s the only player to reach the 40 goal plateau this season. Curran is also leading the Big East in points per game this season while ranking sixth in the league in assists.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jarrod Neumann, Providence
Three Defensive Player of the Week awards and one Weekly Honor Roll appearance for the senior from Springfield, Massachusetts, and that should be enough to get him the trophy here. Neumann is the only field defender to win DPOW this season, with four goalies and two face-off specialists taking the other weekly editions. There are no other field defenders who picked up a second Honor Roll appearance this season, so I don’t have any other possibilities here. Denver’s Christian Burgdorf was the preseason DPOY and has been for the last few seasons, so he’ll likely get some votes.
Goalkeeper of the Year: Tate Boyce, Providence
He’s the Big East’s leader in goals-against average (7.48) and save percentage (.586). Sometimes these things are almost too easy. Denver’s Alex Ready won two Defensive Player of the Week awards, and since Ready and Boyce were both All-Big East First Teamers a year ago, it’s not insane to think the voters could go for the Pioneers’ goalie. Marquette’s Cole Blazer has a non-zero chance of getting votes, as he’s second in the league in both GAA and SV% and has a DPOW award and three Honor Roll nods, but it really should be Boyce.
Freshman of the Year: Ethan Walker, Denver
Five Freshman of the Week awards, three more than anyone else in the league, should be enough to get this for Walker on its own. The fact that he’s fourth in the league in goals per game, second in assists per game, and second in points per game, is just icing on the cake here.
Coach of the Year: Bill Tierney, Denver
The Pioneers are 10-2 overall, undefeated in league play, and ranked #2 in the country. This is not hard, people. FUN FACT: Denver has never lost a regular season conference game as a member of the Big East. FUN FACT #2: Their only loss to a Big East team since joining the conference was in last year’s Big East championship game.
All-Big East Team
Trevor Baptiste, FO, Denver
Tate Boyce, GK, Providence
Daniel Bucaro, A, Georgetown
Christian Burgdorf, D, Denver
Connor Cannizzarro, A, Denver
Jack Curran, M, Villanova
Jake Froccaro, M, Villanova
Nick Hatzipetrakos, M, Providence
Michael Mayer, D, Georgetown
Jarrod Neumann, D, Providence
Ethan Walker, A, Denver
Curran, Neumann, and Boyce are gimmes based on their individual awards. I already mentioned Burgdorf and Cannizzarro as individual award candidates, so they were shoo-ins, too. As you can tell from Walker’s write-up for Freshman of the Year, he’s clearly deserving of a spot as one of the three best attackers in the league, right alongside Bucaro as well. Froccaro and Hatzipetrakos are slight guesses, but there really aren’t any high scoring middies in the league this season, so they seem like safe bets. Mayer has one of the five best ground ball per game marks in the league this season and he hasn’t taken a single face-off, so that works for me.
That leaves Baptiste, and hell, he might actually deserve one of the midfielder spots instead of a placeholder spot as a face-off specialist. He has just eight goals and an assist this season, but he’s the only player in the league with more than 80 ground balls. Of course, this is also largely because he has won 210 of the 281 face-offs he’s taken this season. 210. Of 281. 74.7%. Denver has essentially been playing make-it/take-it lacrosse the entire season thanks to Baptiste.