The USILA announced the winners of its major individual Division I awards today and Rob Pannell -- Cornell's esoteric attack, a man that derives his offensive power from Big League Chew, and a noted Seventeen Magazine dreamboat -- took home the big prize: The Lt. Raymond J. Enners Award. While the USILA's naming of Pannell as its player of year theoretically bodes well for the Cornellian to win the Tewaaraton Award in just under a week, that's not necessarily the case (although Pannell is an overwhelming favorite to add the big, fancy doorstop to his already deep collection of big, fancy doorstops). Since the introduction of the Tewaaraton in 2001, in only seven seasons -- 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2012 -- has the Enners Award winner mirrored the eventually Tewaaraton honoree.
This is the second time that Pannell has earned the Enners Award (2011 and 2013) and marks the sixth instance in which the USILA has named a Big Red player as its player of the year -- 1976 (Mike French), 1977 (Eamon McEneaney), 1987 (Tim Goldstein), 2009 (Max Seibald), and Pannell's two wins. Interestingly, in five of the six seasons that Cornell has claimed the USILA's national player of the year, the Red have advanced to the national championship game (the outlier season was 2011, a year that saw Cornell exit the NCAA Tournament in the quarterfinals after a 13-9 loss to Virginia (the eventual national champion)).
The rest of the award recipients from the USILA are as follows:
- Lt. Col. Jack Turnbull Award: Lyle Thompson (Albany). Thompson finished the season one point shy of tying the record for single-season point generation (Steve Marohl set the record in 1992 with UMBC (113)) despite missing a game due to the birth of his child. Thompson, who converted from Albany's midfield to attack this season, was nonstop combustion for the Great Danes, pushing Albany to the NCAA Tournament and dual America East titles this season -- regular season and tournament. Just a sophomore, Thompson joins Rob Pannell (2010), Matt Danowski (2005), and Mike Powell (2001 and 2002) as the only underclassmen to win the award since 2000. Thompson is the first Albany player to win the award and just the second America East player -- John Grant, Jr. (Delaware, 1999) -- to earn the honor of being named the nation's top attackman.
- Lt. Donald McLaughlin, Jr. Award: Tom Schreiber (Princeton). The Human Weapon -- 190 pounds of tactical destruction -- earned the USILA's nod as the nation's most outstanding midfielder. The junior becomes just the second Princeton midfielder to win the award, following in the footsteps of former Tiger great Josh Sims (1998 and 2000). The race for the honor this season was especially tight with both Schreiber and Syracuse's JoJo Marasco making strong cases to the USILA for the honor (both were named the USILA's first team All-American list). In the end, Schreiber's overall production -- a campaign that put the midfielder just outside the top 10 in offensive value -- earned him the nod.
- William C. Schmeisser Award: Tucker Durkin (Johns Hopkins). Durkin, the 2012 Schmeisser Award winner, continues his reign as the nation's most outstanding defenseman. A rock on a defense that finished the year ranked fifth in adjusted defensive efficiency, Durkin continues Johns Hopkins' tradition of developing top notch defensemen -- this is the 17th time that the USILA has given the Schmeisser award to a Blue Jays defenseman. Durkin -- while not a stat sheet stuffer but a disciplined and intelligent player -- will finish his career at Hopkins as one of only eight players to ever win multiple honors as the nation's top defenseman -- Fred Allner, Jr. (Cornell, 1944 and Princeton, 1947); Hank Kaestner (Johns Hopkins, 1966 and 1967); Chris Kane (Cornell, 1977 and 1978); Mark Greenberg (Johns Hopkins, 1979 and 1980); Tom Haus (North Carolina, 1984, 1986, and 1987); Dave Pietramala (Johns Hopkins, 1988 and 1989); and Dave Morrow (Princeton, 1992 and 1993).
- Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Jr. Award: Austin Kaut (Penn State). Kaut's designation as the nation's top goalie is not a surprise to anyone with eyeballs and a brain that hasn't leaked out of their nose. The Blonde Satan was second in the nation in individual save percentage (61.0 percent) and ended somewhere around 38 percent of Penn State's defensive opportunities with a save. Kaut becomes the first Penn State player to ever win an individual USILA award.