Knee-jerk reaction to Tewaaraton Award finalists
1. Where is North Carolina's Billy Bitter? Yes, the junior attackman has been slowed by a strained calf and injuries to teammates like senior midfielder Sean DeLaney (left shoulder) and sophomore attackman Thomas Wood (fractured hand), but Bitter consistently attracts opposing defense's top player. He is one of the game's most dynamic offensive players and has powered the Tar Heels to the No. 4 seed.
2. No. 8 seed Stony Brook and Delaware have just as much of an opportunity to reach the Final Four, but the path to that stage is not favorable. If the Seawolves can get past Denver -- the Pioneers won the regular-season meeting, 13-12 -- they would likely face top-seeded Virginia in the quarterfinals. The Blue Hens have to upend No. 4 seed North Carolina and then meet either No. 5 seed Duke or Johns Hopkins in the quarterfinals. Those scenarios are not favorable for Stony Brook junior midfielder Kevin Crowley and Delaware senior attackman Curtis Dickson. Only one player (Hofstra midfielder Doug Shanahan) has won the Tewaaraton even though his team did not reach the Final Four.
3. I'm all for breaking with tradition, and I applaud the inclusion of two defensemen (Virginia senior Ken Clausen and Syracuse junior Joel White) among the five finalists. But history suggests that neither of those two players will win the Tewaaraton. Five attackmen and four midfielders have taken home the award since 2001 -- without a defensman in sight.
4. White is a fine candidate, but is he the best representative for Syracuse? Junior John Galloway is just one of two Division I goalkeepers (Fairfield senior Joe Marra is the other) to rank in the top 5 in both goals-against average (7.09) and save percentage (.590). And there have been some who assert that senior attackman Cody Jamieson (25 goals and 13 assists) has been the Orange's best player this season.