On Wednesday, before the Big East men’s lacrosse tournament kicked off in Providence, the league announced the 2017 all-conference teams and individual award winners. After finishing the regular season with a record of 6-7 and a Big East record of 2-4, Marquette understandably did not have any individual award winners this season. However, six players did earn all-conference honors.
The group of honorees is led by senior attackman Ryan McNamara, who is MU’s lone rep on the All-Big East First Team. McNamara finished the 2017 regular season with the team lead in points, and yet does not lead the team in either goals or assists. It’s somewhat of a surprising honor for McNamara, who is currently tied for his career low in goals and has his lowest assists total since his freshman year. Then again, the Big East coaches managed to cram 16 players onto the first team in a sport where only 10 guys are on the field at one time, so that explains a certain amount of how McNamara made it in.
Five more Golden Eagles were named to the All-Big East Second Team. Zachary Melillo is the face-off specialist on the 14 player Second Team after winning 54% of his draws this season. Goalie Cole Blazer picks up the netminder spot on the Second Team after assembling a Goalkeeper of the Year worthy campaign with a goals-against average of 8.78 and a save percentage of 52.9%, with Blazer’s save percentage ranking second in the conference to only Providence’s Tate Boyce.
Tanner Thomson and Andy DeMichiei also picked up Second Team honors as MU’s second and third leading scorers respectively. DeMichiei has the team lead in assists at 13 along with a matching number of goals, while Thomson contributed 16 goals and 10 assists in his first full season as a starter for Marquette. The final Golden Eagle earning recognition is freshman defender Nick Grill. He started all 13 games for Marquette this season, recording 13 ground balls and six caused turnovers. He’s one of just two freshmen on the all-Big East teams, and yes, the other one is the guy who won Freshman of the Year.
Let’s move on to the individual awards and see how the coaches’ voting matched up with our own picks.
Co-Attack Players Of The Year: Connor Cannizzaro, Denver, & Jack Curran, Villanova
I went with Curran solo here, so that one makes sense. Cannizzaro is a little surprising, since he’s not even his own team’s leader in points, but he is top three in the league in points, goals, and assists per game.
Midfielder of the Year: Trevor Baptiste, FO, Denver
I went with Curran here as well since he’s listed on VU’s website as a middie, but the league recognized him as an attacker. Whatever. Baptiste is more than deserving given his domination on faceoffs and his nine goals and two assists make him more than a one-dimensional FOGO.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jarrod Neumann, Providence
Goalkeeper of the Year: Tate Boyce, Providence
Freshman of the Year: Ethan Walker, A, Denver
These three awards all went to the guy I picked, and they seemed like pretty obvious choices. Both Boyce and Walker were unanimous choices by the league coaches, so it seems that they agreed on that.
Coaching Staff of the Year: Providence
I struggle to understand how Denver and Bill Tierney don’t keep winning this until he loses a regular season game in league play. I mean, hooray for Chris Gabrielli for winning three league games for the first time in program history and the first winning season since 2006, but Denver’s obliterating the rest of the league. Their smallest margin of victory against a Big East foe this season was five goals. Who are we kidding here?
Onwards to the all-league teams.....
All-Big East First Team
Daniel Bucaro, Georgetown, So., A
Connor Cannizzaro, Denver, Sr., A ^
Christian Cuccinello, Villanova, Jr., A
Jack Curran, Villanova, Grad., A ^
Ryan McNamara, Marquette, Sr., A
Ethan Walker, Denver, Fr., A
Peter Conley, Georgetown, RS-Jr., M
Jake Froccaro, Villanova, Sr., M ^
Colton Jackson, Denver, So., M
Christian Burgdorf, Denver, Sr., D ^
Jarrod Neumann, Providence, Sr., D ^
Danny Sweeney, Villanova, Sr., D ^
Trevor Baptiste, Denver, Jr., FOS ^
Michael Mayer, Georgetown, Sr., LSM
Sean Mayle, Denver, Jr., LSM
Tate Boyce, Providence, So., GK ^
Ok, look. There was a tie in the voting for long stick midfielder and a three-way tie for the at-large spot on the ballot, so that’s how you get to 16 players here. It’s still absurd to have a 13 player all-league team in a sport where 10 guys are on the field at once and straight up stupid to have 16. I get that spots #11 and #12 go to the face-off guy and the LSM because of specialized impact on the game, but hey: maybe knock that off, too. I put Michael Mayer on my all-league team as a defensive player largely because GU themselves lists him as a defender. This isn’t that hard.
I missed on one (PC’s Nick Hatzipetrakos, who is on the second team) of my 11 picks (yes, I picked a FO guy because I knew the league would shut up it’s not hypocritical), and seven of my 11 picks were unanimous choices. SHOUTOUT TO ME. Or maybe to the players for being such obvious choices. One or the other.
Here’s the All-Big East Second Team, which has 14 players which is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many and with the three-way tie for the First Team “at-large” spot (so stupid) there’s definitely at least three guys on the Second Team that have no business being there. (HINT: One of them is probably the guy from 4-10 Georgetown.)
Craig Berge, Georgetown, Jr., M
Cole Blazer, Marquette, Jr., G
Conner Byrne, Providence, Jr., SSDM
Andy DeMichiei, Marquette, Sr., A
Connor Donahue, Denver, Jr., M
Nick Grill, Marquette, Fr., D
Nick Hatzipetrakos, Providence, So., A
John Kluh, Villanova, Grad., M
Devin McNamara, Villanova, RS-Jr., M
Zachary Melillo, Marquette, Jr., FOS
Kurtis Naslonski, Villanova, Sr., LSM
Tyler Pace, Denver, Sr., M
Alex Ready, Denver, So., G
Tanner Thomson, Marquette, Jr., M