The Maryland Terrapins men’s lacrosse team had a good deal of uncertainty entering the 2014 season. Guys like Owen Blye and Jake and Jesse Bernhardt had graduated and the program was being entrusted to a relatively young squad.
Despite all the new pieces, the Terps had a remarkable season in which they captured the ACC regular season title and could finish as a top 10 team with a win over Navy on Saturday.
Three Terps were named as award recipients by the ACC on Thursday afternoon. Senior goalie Niko Amato was named Defensive Player of the Year and for good reason. Maryland’s netminder is one of the top in the country and posted a 7.27 goals-against-average, which was good for fourth in the nation (first in the ACC). Amato only trailed Sam Somers (Army), Jack Runkel (Loyola MD), and Matt Poilllon (Lehigh) for the top honor of the statistic.
The Baby Terps had contributions from several highly-touted freshmen, but it was attackman Connor Cannizzaro who took home the honor for ACC Freshman of the Year. Cannizzaro finished the 2014 season with 25 points (19 goals & six assists) and really came on late in the season. Over the course of his freshman campaign, the New York native has proved to be a more patient player that doesn’t succumb to the pressure of slides by opposing teams. Cannizzaro is the eighth Terp to achieve the honor and the first since 2003 (Joe Walters).
Last but certainly not least is ACC Coach of the Year John Tillman. It’s been proven in recent years that Tillman is a phenomenal tactician and is one of the brightest minds on collegiate lacrosse. However, it was truly impressive to watch Tillman lead Maryland to a 10-3 overall record and a 4-1 mark in the conference.