The USILA announced the winners of its major individual Division I awards today and Lyle Thompson -- Albany's hammer -- took home the big prize: The Lt. Raymond J. Enners Award. While the USILA's naming of Thompson as its player of year theoretically bodes well for the Great Dane to win the Tewaaraton Award in just under a week, Thompson's hoisting of the trophy isn't a slam dunk guarantee. Since the introduction of the Tewaaraton in 2001, in eight seasons -- 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, and 2013 -- the Enners Award winner mirrored the eventually Tewaaraton honoree. Given the fact that Thompson won't play in Championship Weekend, there is a possibility that Tewaaraton voters go in a different direction (postseason play is a consideration in the selection criteria for the award).
This is the first time that Thompson has earned the Enners Award and marks the first time that the USILA has named a Great Dane as its player of the year. Interestingly, this is only the second time in which a member institution of the America East has claimed an Enners Award winner (the only other time was in 2010 when Kevin Crowley took home the honor for Stony Brook). .
The rest of the award recipients from the USILA are as follows:
- Lt. Col. Jack Turnbull Award: Lyle Thompson (Albany). Thompson finished his 2014 campaign with 128 points, a new single-season record in the NCAA era. Thompson led Albany to their second trip ever to the national quarterfinals, falling to Notre Dame in overtime. This is the second Turnbull Award that Thompson has won, joining Rob Pannell, Matt Danowski, Mike Powell, John Zulberti, Tim Nelson, Jeff Cook, Mike O'Neill, Jack Thomas, Joe Cowan, Jim Lewis, and Brooke Tunstall as multiple time winners. Thompson remains the only 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 for the second season in a row. The senior becomes just the second Princeton midfielder to win the award, following in the footsteps of former Tiger great Josh Sims (1998 and 2000). Schreiber joins Kyle Harrison, Sims, Gary Gait, Del Dressel, and Frank Urso as the only two-time winners of the award. The race for the honor this season was tight between Schreiber and Maryland's Mike Chanenchuk, both making strong cases to the USILA for the honor (both were named the USILA's first team All-American list).
- William C. Schmeisser Award: Joe Fletcher (Loyola). Fletcher, a member of the 2014 iteration of Team USA that will compete in the world games this summer, won his first Schmeisser Award after patiently waiting for Johns Hopkins' Tucker Durkin to graduate. A rock on a defense that was among the nation's best, Fletcher earned the Greyhounds their first outstanding defensive player award in the program's history. Only 14 schools claim a Schmeisser Award winner, just one of which -- Navy -- is currently aligned with the Patriot League.
- Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Jr. Award: Niko Amato (Maryland). After struggling with streakiness early in his career, Amato has become one of the nation's most reliable keepers, leading the Terps to Championship Weekend in three of his four seasons in College Park. Amato becomes the sixth Maryland player -- following Brian Dougherty (1995 and 1996), Jim Beardmore (1987), Jack Schofield (1964), Jim Kappler (1955, 1956, and 1957), and Bill Larsh (1952) -- to enjoy the honor. Maryland is now tied with Navy with nine Markland Kelly Awards in their trophy case, second all time to Johns Hopkins (13).