Rabil, Jones the frontrunners to take home lacrosse's most hallowed honor
How Dukes' Matt Danowski responds to surgery to mend a torn ligament in his foot may determine who the '08 Tewaaraton Trophy is bestowed to. Danowski is looking to become the first repeat winner since the inception of the award in 2001.
With four Tewaaraton Trophy finalists from '07 returning, this is a star-studded lineup. But, can anybody from outside those top four make a run at it?
1. Paul Rabil, Johns Hopkins, Sr., Midfield
Maybe the most impressive physical specimen in the sport, Rabil (6-3, 225) is built like an NFL running back. His passing ability developed last season as he dealt with double and triple teams, so his all-around game should be at its peak this spring.
2. Matt Danowski, Duke, Sr., Attack
The defending winner enters the season ranked No. 2 for unfortunate reasons. Early in the fall, he tore a ligament in his foot doing conditioning drills. The ensuing surgery repaired the damage, but the effects might linger throughout '08.
3. Ben Rubeor, Virginia, Sr., Attack
After a dominant senior class led the Cavaliers to the 2006 national title, Rubeor stepped up big time to lead Virginia last season. Now, with a greatly improved midfield to set him up, Rubeor could have an easier time in '08.
4. Max Seibald, Cornell, Jr., Midfield
Seibald is about as good as middies get; well, except maybe for Rabil. A strong, fast, intelligent athlete who plays both ends of the field, Seibald is almost impossible to defend with one player. With Dave Mitchell gone, his dodging will be the engine that drives Cornell's offense.
5. Zack Greer, Duke, Jr., Attack
Is the deadliest finisher in Division I still the deadliest finisher without the best passer in Division I? This question might keep Greer from winning this award, although he might get a chance to prove himself without Danowski: the 2007 Tewaaraton winner may miss some of the season after foot surgery.
6. Alex Hewit, Princeton, Sr., Goalie
The NCAA's best returning goalie, Hewit was a first team All-America in '06. Most of his defense returns as well, so he'll face mostly shots he can handle. Princeton's record will determine his chances of winning the Trophy.
7. Stephen Peyser, Johns Hopkins, Sr., Midfield
Like Greer, Peyser could be overshadowed by a teammate, but he's definitely a Top 10 talent. And, if you want to compare him to Rabil, Peyser has a nice edge since he's also very strong on faceoffs.
8. Danny Glading, Virginia, Jr., Attack
Glading is just about as polished as lacrosse players get. His skills are off the charts with both hands and his IQ and decision-making perfectly fit his offensive quarterback position. Like Greer and Peyser, he has a teammate that might overshadow him as well.
9. Brendan Cannon, Georgetown, Sr., Attack
On a team full of monster middies that can rip it from outside, Cannon's smaller, quicker style stands out like a rabbit running with horses. But he's tough to stop and he's the spark that gets Georgetown's offense going.
10. Jordan Levine, Albany, Sr., Middie
For a middie, 23 goals and 16 assists is really good. But Levine's most impressive statistic in '07 was his 91 groundballs, an Albany single-season record that showcases his athleticism and all-around game.
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