Although Connor Kelly didn’t win the Tewaaraton Award on Thursday, there’s still plenty of recognition to be passed around.
First off, the Maryland men’s lacrosse team wasn’t expected to make it back to championship weekend. Yet, they made it back there anyways for a fifth consecutive appearance.
After losing an alpha-male senior class that included three First-Team All-Americans, a Tewaaraton winner and winning the national championship, many expected this year to be a rebuilding season for head coach John Tillman and company.
Yet, Tillman and his newly put together coaching staff found a way to get this group back to the promised land, and nearly a fourth consecutive championship game appearance. The Terps finished the season as Big Ten regular season champions, ended with a 14-4 record and deserve some recognition for what they’ve accomplished.
First, let’s begin with the most obvious award to give out.
Most Valuable Player: Connor Kelly
Honorable mention: N/A
This one is as easy as it gets and it’s not even close. The senior midfielder finished the season with 82 points, the third-most for a single season in Maryland history. The third ever Terrapin Tewaaraton finalist was instrumental in all of Maryland’s success this season offensively, no matter if he’s actually an attackman rather than a midfielder.
The most recent accolade the Easton, Connecticut, native received was his selection to the NCAA All-Tournament Team. Kelly finished with four points on a goal in three assists in his final game as a Terp, showing his continued progression as a passer when defenses focused in on him. Still, he will always be remembered by his patented rollback-to-righty snipe.
Most Improved Player: Jared Bernhardt
Honorable mention: Curtis Corley
Corley has become one of the top cover men in the country this season. After his freshman season as the hype man on the bench to being the third defender last year behind Bryce Young and Tim Muller, Corley’s development has been remarkable.
Bernhardt on the other hand has turned into the bonafied second option from the passive sixth option last year. The Florida native finished with 56 points (40 goals, 16 assists) after just 28 points the year prior. Now, the speedy sophomore attackman will just need to add more of a finishing touch to his game to take himself to the next level.
Best Newcomer: Logan Wisnauskas
Honorable mention: Roman Puglise, Bubba Fairman
Puglise became the most reliable short stick defensive midfielder down the stretch of the season as just a freshman while players like Adam DiMillo, Thomas O’Connell and Jack Harrison were exposed in the semifinal loss to Duke.
Bubba Fairman finished as the team’s fourth-leading scorer with 35 points (26 goals, nine assists), and was the best player on the field during the quarterfinal win over Cornell. With multiple hat trick performances on the season, Fairman has set himself up to be the one of the main offensive options alongside Bernhardt.
Redshirt attackman Logan Wisnauskas transferred to College Park from a historically great Syracuse program that was reluctant to redshirt him at all during his first year. Sick for the fall lacrosse circuit, Wisnauskas learned to fit right in to his new offense with great shooting accuracy that saw him bag 35 goals and 50 points, the most for a Maryland freshman since 2001.
Breakthrough Player: Will Snider
Honorable mention: Jack Welding
Sophomore defenseman Jack Welding was tasked with face guarding Cornell sophomore attackman Jeff Teat, who was held to just two assists. The Southlake, Texas, native made great strides in his first full season as a starter at close defense.
Junior midfielder Will Snider’s seven goals and zero assists weren’t outstanding, in fact he finished ninth in scoring for the Terps. Yet, those goals were certainly timely. His two goals in the triple overtime triumph in the regular season finale against Johns Hopkins featured the tying and game-winning goals. The Seattle, Washington, native found his way onto the first line midfield after two and a half years of hard work on the scout team, but expect him to be less passive when the team returns next spring.
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