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College Crosse Presents: The Crossies!

The boys hand out superlatives, honors, and awards for the 2021 college lacrosse season in our newest podcast

NCAA LACROSSE: MAY 15 Men’s Tournament - Vermont at Maryland

Its the Season Finale of College Crossecast; as the boys hand out awards and superlatives for the 2021 season, or as we affectionately refer to them...The Crossies! Listen to our newest podcast to see us breakdown all the awards and nominees and winners; as well as reflect on what we’ll remember most from a season unlike any other. Also, read below for all the awards, nominees, and Crossie winners!

The 2017 Towson Tigers Award For Most Overachieving Team Goes To….

  • Loyola Greyhounds
  • Drexel Dragons (co)
  • Vermont Catamounts (co)
  • Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Drexel went from a 1-2 start to begin the season to winning 9 games on the trot, the CAA Tournament, and their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2014, where they were tied with Notre Dame late in the 4th Quarter and nearly broke through to the Quarterfinals. They were near the Top 10 in Adjusted Offensive and Defensive Efficiency by the end of the season, and performed at a Top 10 level. A worthy co-winner of this award for a team that was out of the Top 20 to start the season and was at best 3rd favorite to win their conference tournament going into the year

Vermont finally broke through. In Year 5 under Coach Chris Feifs, after two prior losses in the America East Championship Game, the Catamounts dominated Albany 15-10 to win the America East and book their first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. It was a great season and culmination of years of building for Feifs, who took over a program that was off the radar both figuratively and literally in the D1 landscape; and despite this he’s led them to being a consistent Top 25 to 20 squad and now an NCAA Tournament team.

The 2021 Syracuse Orange Award For Most Underachieving Team Goes To….

  • Syracuse Orange
  • Ohio State Buckeyes

The Orange started the season ranked #3 after a shortened 2020 where they were 5-0 and were #1 at the season’s conclusion. The players self-professed expectations were “championship or bust.” It was a team described as having no weakness and depth everywhere with stars who could play for anyone in the country and was expected to get back to Championship Weekend for the first time since 2013. Instead, they started the season with a blowout loss to Army, went 2-4 in ACC play with their four losses by a combined 34 goals, and then lost to Georgetown by 10 goals to cap off a 7-6 season that led to the retirement of head coach John Desko after 23 seasons.

The 2017 Big Ten Championship Game Award For Best Game Goes To….

  • Notre Dame vs Duke, April 22nd
  • Maryland vs Johns Hopkins, April 24th
  • Denver vs Loyola, First Round
  • North Carolina vs Rutgers, NCAA Quarterfinals
  • Maryland vs Notre Dame, NCAA Quarterfinals
  • Maryland vs Virginia, National Championship

There were some phenomenal games among these nominees, including once again several in the NCAA Tournament. But it’s hard to look past the National Championship; the biggest stage in the entire sport, the game to decide the season, that had absolutely everything. The highest goal scoring title game ever, incredible individual performances by superstars, an incredible save at the end to preserve the lead, lead changes and switches of momentum, and an incredible tension and stress from both the coaching staffs and players who played like it was the biggest game they’d ever play in. And man. That ending.

The Rob Lowe Wearing The NFL Hat For College Crosse Team of the Year Goes To….

  • Rutgers
  • Bryant
  • St. Joseph’s
  • Georgetown
  • Delaware

As our pal Safe would say, these teams are all winners! And everyone was a beloved team in 2021, a year that tested these players and demanded more of them than any season before, beyond what ever could be expected. But if we were to choose one, it would be Rutgers. From Connor and Colin Kirst returning to where their legendary father played his collegiate career for one final season, to Adam Charalambides in his 7th season of college lacrosse after so many injuries and COVID having an All-American season, to Kieran Mullins and the defense that was better than the sum of its parts. It was as transparently lovable and easy to root for team in recent memory. You wanted to see them do well and they did, having the Scarlet Knights best season in 30 years.

The Ryan Knows Women Award For Best Meme of the Season Goes To….

  • Is Maryland Good?
  • Tim Kavanagh
  • ACC Supremacy
  • Ryan Goes Walter Cronkite on Desko

Just listen to Crossecast Episode 170 for the full explanation. The only way to do it justice.

The John Galloway Award For Excellence In All Things Saving Balls Coming At Your Head…..

  • Mike Adler
  • Owen McElroy
  • Liam Entenmann
  • Colin Kirst
  • Brett Dobson

A heckuva list here, from the USILA Goalie of the Year and 1st Team All-American McElroy, to the steward of one of the nation’s best defenses in Entenmann, the best all-around goalie in the country in Kirst who was a weapon in Rutgers clearing game, and the highlight of a great story in St. Bonaventure in Brett Dobson. But we went with Adler, the man who Duke added in the transfer portal to plug one of the big holes in their line-up, and that he did. He turned a weakness into a massive strength, made huge game changing saves in ACC play in wins over Cuse and North Carolina, and was asked to make more ten bell and high leverage, difficult situations than any goalie on the list and did it all year long. With hindsight after Duke’s loss to Maryland, it was Adler who made that defense perform at such a high level all year.

The Tucker Durkin Award For Excellence In All Things Making Attackmen Look Silly Goes To….

  • Brett Makar (co)
  • Nick Grill (co)
  • Jack Kielty
  • Will Bowen
  • Owen Grant

It was hard to pick against any of these options, but particularly Makar or Grill and distinguish between one or the other among the phenomenal defensive duo that restored the Terps defense back to the dominant levels its so often been used to. So we went with them both. Makar was often the #1 cover guy, shutting down and blanketing opposing teams best attackers - the two game stretch from the Big Ten Championship Game where he double bageled Connor DeSimone to the First Round game vs Vermont where the Catamounts wouldn’t dodge him was brilliant - while Makar was a roving force causing havoc; but then came the Notre Dame and Duke games where Grill won his individual match-ups against Pat Kavanagh and Michael Sowers and Makar wreacked havoc himself. It didn’t continue to the championship, where Connor Shellenberger did Connor Shellenberger things. But over the year, they were as good as anyone and share the Crossie.

The Zach Currier Award For Excellence In All Midfield Activities Goes To…..

  • Jack Hannah
  • Connor Maher
  • Kyle Long
  • Tyler Carpenter

A balanced field here of two offensive midfielders, one short stick, and a long pole. It’s the short stick who gets the nod, as Maher’s tremendous all-around game and utterly ferocious groundball play was a steadying force all year on a UNC defense that got better and better en route to the Final Four. Maher had 65 groundballs on the year, a figure only bested by FOGOs and also had 10 caused turnovers as well. He was a figure in Carolina’s transition and was their #1 cover short stick defender as well. He was consistent all year long; he had six groundballs and two caused turnovers vs Denver and then five and one against Virginia in the Final Four. The best midfielder in 2021.

The Matt Rambo Award For Excellence in Rambo Kill Counts Goes To….

  • Jared Bernhardt
  • Chris Gray
  • Pat Kavanagh
  • Michael Sowers (Ryan)
  • Jake Carraway

An incredible field full of players who had legendary careers and were also just starting their college journey. There may never be an attack class like this one again. Ryan went for Michael Sowers for the career achievement, and what a career it was. 2nd all time in points only to Lyle Thompson, T-2nd all time in career assists, and perhaps most impressively the highest career PPG in D1 in over 30 years.

But it’s hard to look past Bernhardt, who we will take a closer look at in our next award...

The Crossie For Excellence in Lacrosse World Domination Goes To…..

  • Jared Bernhardt
  • Connor Shellenberger

There could only be one winner. Bernhardt was simply preposterous in 2021, reaching heights we hadn’t seen since Lyle Thompson and etching his name into history as an all time great with one of the finest senior seasons ever. 71 goals, the 5th most in NCAA history. The 2nd best goals per game in the last 30 years. An incredible over six points per game figure. But it was the way he did it as much as anything. 70 goal seasons are reserved for all time great finishers like Myles Thompson or Mac O’Keefe. Bernhardt was a dodger, the X attackmen with the target on his back every week, and every week he got his at will and dominated his opposition. Jack Kielty the ACC Defensive Player of the Year got torched by him. JT Giles-Harris the National Defender of the Year did his best and still surrendered five goals and two assists. Bernhardt was a volume shooter...who shot 49%. The efficiency was staggering. He finished one goal and one point shy of the records in NCAA Tournament history. There hasn’t been a more dominant dodger in the game since Rob Pannell and a more dominant athlete in even further than that. He was transcendent, and the best player in the land.

A special shoutout as well to Charlotte North, who’s record setting season as both the greatest goalscorer in Division I women’s history as well as an elite draw control taker presented us with as multi faceted a dominant season as we’ve seen in the women’s game since Taylor Cummings. She too takes home this award.

The Hang Their Jersey in The College Crosse Rafters Because They Were Cool

  • Jake Carraway
  • Jared Bernhardt
  • Adam Charalambides
  • Michael Sowers

Carraway was a great friend of the pod and site and had an incredible career setting records in Georgetown history to help the Hoyas return to the upper echelons of the sport. Bernhardt was the most dominant player in recent years and a joy to watch over his career. No one is more beloved than Charalambides, whose college career quite literally spans this podcast’s existence. And Sowers...well we are a Michael Sowers Stan Account after all. A hat tip and an adieu to four brilliant, brilliant players.