Waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back last Wednesday, the Big East announced their end of season individual awards and all-conference honors for men’s lacrosse. Today, we finally rummaged up the free time to finally make note of it here on this fancy time internet website.
Senior long stick midfielder Noah Richard was named the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, making him the second Marquette player to earn that honor after Liam Byrnes in 2016. Richard was a unanimous choice amongst the league’s coaches for the award, as well as for the LSM spot on the all-Big East First Team. He is one of nine unanimous choices for the First Team out of the 13 players included on the list.
Here’s how the league office explained why Richard was the best defender in the conference this season:
Marquette’s Richard repeats for the second straight year as the coaches’ unanimous pick for All-BIG EAST First Team LSM. His ground ball total is the highest in Marquette history for a non-faceoff specialist and the second-highest mark for a BIG EAST player this season who does not primarily take face-offs. Richard’s 71 ground balls rank as the second-best season total in program history and his 23 caused turnovers are No. 4 in a single season. In league play, Richard ranked third in ground ball pickups with 32. The senior, who is also a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, closed out his career with nine ground balls in a overtime loss to then-No. 3 Duke, and 10 in a one-goal loss to then-No. 12 Denver. He was part of a defense that held both top 20 teams to 10 goals or less.
If you watched Marquette play this season, then it’s no surprise that Richard had more ground balls than any non-faceoff specialist in program history. At times, he looked more like he was playing with a high powered vacuum out there, or at the very least some kind of ball magnet. If there was a loose ball on the ground in Marquette’s defensive end, Noah Richard was going to be involved in either A) how it got there or B) how it was getting picked up. Over and over and over again, SHHHOOOOOP, there goes #55 scooping it up and running into the attacking end.
Richard was joined on the all-Big East First Team this season by senior midfielder Tanner Thomson and junior defender Nick Grill. Here’s what the official MU press release had to say about their inclusion in the all-league honors:
Grill and Thomson each make their first team debuts alongside Richard this season after second team honors in previous years. Grill, who was a second team selection as both a freshman and sophomore in 2017 and 2018, picked up 31 ground balls and caused 18 turnovers while starting all 14 games at close defense. He joins Liam Byrnes, Zachary Melillo and his brother B.J. Grill as the only players in MU history to garner three All-BIG EAST postseason honors.
Thomson finished second on the Golden Eagles with 38 points but led the squad in scoring with 26 goals as a redshirt senior. The Toronto native started the season on attack before moving back into the midfield midway through the year. Thomson ends his MU career fifth in program history in points (93) and goals (65) and sixth in assists (28).
2020 will be a big season for Grill, as he’ll have an opportunity to become Marquette’s first player to earn all-Big East honors four times. Melillo transferred in after his freshman season, while Byrnes and the elder Grill did not play in the Big East as freshmen as that was Marquette’s first season as a Division 1 team. Grill currently sits at #9 all-time in ground balls in MU history, and a repeat of his junior year numbers would make him the 6th player in program history to record 100 ground balls in a career.
Richard, Thomson, and Grill are joined in all-league honors by John Wagner, who was named to the All-Big East Second Team. After coming up with clutch goal after clutch goal in 2018, Wagner’s offensive game was much more well rounded in 2019. I’ll let the MU press release explain:
Wagner, who was an All-BIG EAST Preseason Team selection, was named to the second team after leading the Golden Eagles with 39 points on 21 goals and a team-high 18 assists. The St. Davids, Ontario native earned first team honors in 2018 and is the reigning BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award winner for men’s lacrosse. Wagner ends his Marquette career third in points (109) and goals (77), fourth in assists (32) and second in game-winning scores (seven).
While Denver dominated the women’s lacrosse awards, things were much more spread around on the men’s side of the aisle. No team had more than one player earn an individual honor, with only Villanova doubling up on major awards with Connor Kirst being named Midfielder of the Year and the coaches getting the Coaching Staff of the Year trophy. Georgetown’s Daniel Bucaro was named Attack Player of the Year, Providence’s Tate Boyce was named Goalkeeper of the Year for the second time in his career, and Denver’s Brett Boos was named Freshman of the Year. Each of those three individual awards were all unanimous choices, just like Richard’s DPOY trophy.
Five of the six teams in the Big East were recognized on the all-conference First Team, with Denver and Georgetown each getting four men on the 13 player list. St. John’s put three guys on the Second Team, while Georgetown was shut out of that list.
You can check out the full list of honorees in the league’s press release right here.