The Tewaarton Trophy, given to the national player of the year in college lacrosse, will once again be a highly contested prize in 2013. As we head down the home stretch of the regular season, the Tewaarton picture becomes clearer, as the front-runners separate themselves from the early-season contenders.
Last year's winner, Colgate's Peter Baum, is having a fantastic year, but it seems like a repeat is unlikely for the talented attackman.
Let's take a look at my top four contenders:
Rob Pannell: Attackman, Cornell
Pannell is back at Cornell after dropping out of school a year ago to keep a year of eligibility in the Ivy League. For Cornell this was a favorable move, bringing back perhaps the most talented player in the country for another go-around.
The under-recruited Pannell has 24 goals and 30 assists thus far in 2013. He has picked up right where he left off, leading Cornell to a 9-1 record and a No. 2 national ranking this week. Pannell would most likely have won the award a year ago if not for injury, so a strong finish to the season could secure the award for the Long Island native this year.
Tom Schreiber: Midfielder, Princeton
Tom Schreiber is a matchup nightmare for the opposition. This year, he has the luxury of being surrounded by more talent, allowing him to become an assist-first middie. He has shown great balance in his 17 goals and 16 assists this year, showing the ability to pass and shoot effectively off of the dodge from up top.
A year ago, Schreiber was the focal point of the offense, and was relied upon to produce on every possession. This year, with far greater production from the attack line at Princeton, Schreiber has dealt with quick double teams by dumping it off to his wide-open teammates.
Schreiber could steal the award from Pannell if he outshines him in the Big City Classic later this month. A tournament run by the Tigers wouldn't hurt his cause, either.
Who should win the award?
Lyle Thompson: Midfielder, Albany
Lyle Thompson is a scoring machine. His statistics are absurd thus far in 2013, and it seems he cannot be stopped. His 64 points on 25 goals and 39 assists more than double that of Albany's second leading scorer, his twin brother Miles.
Thompson, like Baum a year ago, could win the award by default. He could put up so many points that there is no decision but to give him the trophy. If Albany has some more big wins down the stretch behind the middies dominance, Thompson could be the favorite.
Steve Mock: Attackman, Cornell
Mock is having a stellar year for Cornell, but it could be said that his success has a lot to do with the attention demanded by teammate and linemate Rob Pannell. Regardless, Mock's 31 goals and four assists certainly enter him in the conversation for player of the year. He deserves a lot of credit for his clutch goals that have cemented big wins for the Big Red.
Unfortunately, if Pannell does not win it, it most certainly will not go to Mock. Barring unreal statistics in the tournament, he is unlikely to win the award.