2017 Tewaarton Award Winners An All Maryland & (Once Again) All Offensive Affair

The 2017 Tewaarton Award for Division I Lacrosse most outstanding players are both Maryland Terps, ttacker Matt Rambo and Midfielder Zoe Stukenberg.  The storied lacrosse Men’s and Women’s lacrosse programs of Maryland have much to be proud of this season, sweeping not only both the Men’s and Women’s National Championship, but also sweeping the Tewaarton Award.

The Tewaarton Award goes to the most outstanding players in Men’s and Women’s college lacrosse, akin to the Heisman Trophy Award in college football that is awarded to the most outstanding player (there are more parallels to the Heisman that I will address below).  The Tewaarton Award is so named to honor the Native American origins of the game of lacrosse.  Tewaarton is the Mohawk word for lacrosse in their native tongue, and the Mohawk Nation is credited with being the progenitor of lacrosse.

There are two controversies associated with the Tewaarton Award.  Given that it is awarded after the Division I college lacrosse post season is complete, there is an observation among many experts that the award is all too often influenced by a player’s performance in the post season, which is not the intent of the award.  The award’s intent is to recognize a player’s outstanding achievement and importance to their team during the regular season.

Less controversial perhaps and falling in line with the reality of the Heisman Trophy Award in football, the Tewaarton Award, especially on the Men’s side, is very tilted historically toward offensive players.  In fact, since the award’s inception in 2000, all but two recipients on the Men’s side have been attackers, while the only two that were not attackers were offensive midfield studs Doug Shanahan and Max Seibald.  Although defense is equally important for success in lacrosse as it is in football, like in football, great defensive players in lacrosse get far less recognition than their offensive counterparts.

I understand that part of this is simply the nature of the game, that the team with the most points at the end of the game wins, and it takes a capable offense in most cases to get the ball in the other team’s goal. Naturally, that will garner more attention.  On the other hand, if you ask the vast majority of coaches if they had to make a choice between a high powered offense or a lock down defense, most would opt for the lock down defense.

Still, one cannot argue with this year’s choices, Matt Rambo and Zoe Stukenberg, as both were not only dominant, Matt Rambo clinched the career scoring record for one of the most storied college lacrosse programs in the history of the sport.

Congrats to this year’s Tewaarton winners and to the University of Maryland Terps Nation that loves them!

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

Maryland Breaks The 42 Year Curse, Ohio State Represents Diversity In The 2017 Lacrosse National Championship

On paper, Maryland had the advantage.  With a prolific offense that included Maryland all time leading scorer (an incredible feat in a program as storied as Maryland)  and Tewaarton Award finalist Matt Rambo, Dylan Maltz, and offensive middie powerhouse Connor Kelly; let’s face it, Ohio State as good as they were, did not match up.  On the other hand, we gave Ohio State a chance in this game based on past battles with Maryland, the fact that this game was an inter-conference rivalry, Ohio States face off prowess driving more possessions, and Ohio State’s physical, gritty and tenacious style of play.

While Ohio State started off the game dominating physically, Maryland’s defense tightened up and their offense ultimately took control of the tempo of the game.  Although Ohio State would not go away and pulled within 2 goals with 2 minutes left, Maryland dominated possessions and committed very few unforced errors.  The best team truly won.

One cannot help but feel happy for the Maryland seniors who came through with the weight of 42 years on their shoulders and a fan base that that had watched their beloved Terps come so close in so many championship games since 1975 only to come up short every time…until yesterday.

While Ohio State came up short, they should walk away from this experience with heads held high.  This roster was the first Ohio State team to make the Final 4 and then went on to take it a step further to the title game.  They have perhaps the most diverse roster among Division I top 10 teams.  While they do have players that hail from some of the more traditional lacrosse states like Maryland, NY, and Pennsylvania, they have several players from their home state of Ohio, as well as players from Alabama, Florida, California, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Delaware. Rounding out their roster are the Ontario and British Columbia based Canadians.  Alabama?  Really?

While Maryland’s win represent’s a storied programs return to glory, Ohio States runner up achievement represents the growth of lacrosse into less traditional areas where kids may now feel that they finally have a seat at the table along side players from the Northeast.

For many reasons, this was a lacrosse National Championship game to remember!  Congrats to Maryland and Ohio State.  To all of the May Madness teams, thank you for a great season of the best lacrosse in the world!

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

Why I Am Rooting For Ohio State For The 2017 Division I Lacrosse National Championship

I am not a Buckeyes fan.  I am not really a Big 10 fan, although I like Maryland in part because I have friends that played lacrosse there and I still think of them as being in the ACC.  So why am I rooting for Ohio State?  Because I am a lacrosse fan and it would be good for the growth of the sport!

Although the Big 10 is really coming into its own in lacrosse, the mid-west still remains mired in traditional sports with lacrosse still viewed as a snooty prep school sport by most.  Although we have seen impressive success with programs like Penn State, Michigan, and Ohio State, it is still incredible how little support these teams garner from their student body and alumni.

I understand that Maryland has suffered a national championship drought since 1975.  I know how hungry their fans are for that elusive win, and I sympathize.  On the other hand, their women’s program just won yet another national championship to add to their pile of national championships (13).

Even if Maryland loses tomorrow, interest in the sport of lacrosse is going nowhere in that state.  The state of Maryland has been a hotbed of lacrosse since before even I was a kid.  It is part of the very fiber of their culture.

Ohio, on the other hand, is…not like that.  A national championship for Urban Meyer’s state would hopefully bring Ohio State Lacrosse head coach Nick Myer into main stream Ohio sports conversation.  Hopefully that will translate into the growth of the sport in an area pulsing with athletes that would make great lacrosse players.

Sorry Terps, I love you, but have to go with the Buckeyes on this one.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.