Megan Taylor’s Tewaaraton Resonates Beyond College Park

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Maryland's Megan Taylor, a four-time Big Ten Goaltender of the Year, became the first goalie to win the Tewaaraton Award.


When Megan Taylor’s name was called as the 2019 Tewaaraton Award winner last week, there was a predictably loud roar from her University of Maryland teammates in attendance.

But the cheers reached far beyond her teammates from College Park and the attendees at the event at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.

Those are just a sampling of the responses on social media to Taylor becoming the first goaltender, male or female, to win the Tewaaraton.

“There’s only been two goalies nominated and one defender and we’re 19 years into this,” said Taylor’s college coach, Cathy Reese. “To have a goalie that’s actually had the career and season she’s had, she’s so deserving of it and I think it’s cool that she’s presented with it. It’s pretty cool for the sport as a whole. I think that’s awesome.”

Taylor’s award was not a token nod.

Last year’s Tewaaraton winner, Sam Apuzzo, put up more monster numbers with 94 goals, 124 points and 191 draw controls in leading Boston College to the NCAA championship game for the third straight year. Apuzzo’s BC teammate, Dempsey Arsenault, is one of the game’s top all-around players had 65 goals, 92 points, 100 draw controls and a team-leading 44 ground balls.

Senior Selena Lasota led Northwestern back to the final four for the first time since 2014 with career-best totals of 85 goals and 104 points. Taylor’s own Maryland teammate, Jen Giles, poured in 82 points.

Taylor won the award from this strong class of finalists by posting one of the best seasons seen by a goalie in years. Taylor, already the IWLCA National Goaltender of the Year in 2017, had a career-best 55.1 save percentage to earn her fourth straight Big Ten Goaltender of the Year recognition.

Her role has taken on more importance with recent rule changes in collegiate women’s lacrosse.

“As we implemented the shot clock in our sport, and free movement, there’s more and more shots coming on goal,” Reese said. “Teams used to hold the ball before they even thought about taking a shot. Our goalkeepers are seeing more shots.”







Maryland captured its 14th national championship in part because of the play of Taylor on championship weekend. That didn’t appear to be in the cards when the Terps were controlled by Northwestern 16-11 in the Big Ten championship game for its only loss of the season. It was Taylor’s worst statistical game of the year as she made just seven saves for a 34.8 save percentage.

“That game as a whole, team and her, was just a chance to reset,” Reese said. “We needed to do better on the offensive end, we needed to do better on the defensive end, she needed to do better in the cage. That was a chance to take a deep breath and look at what we’re doing.

“I think [the Northwestern loss] kind of fueled our fire and propelled us into the NCAA tournament. We kept getting better each game. If you look offensively in the semifinals, we were at a whole different level than in the Big Ten championship game. Then you go to the championship game to play against, my God, one of the top offenses in the nation in Boston College, to have our defense step up the way they did and have her make the saves that she did.”

Taylor made 39 saves through Maryland’s four NCAA tournament victories. She held Boston College to a season-low 10 goals in the championship game, making 10 saves, and held Stony Brook, Denver and Northwestern each to their second-lowest scoring outputs of the season. It was an effort that earned her NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors.

That was no surprise in College Park.

“To have her in goal as the backbone kind of anchoring us just makes you feel very comfortable,” Reese said. “She makes some saves that are ridiculous that she has no business making, but those are some of the saves that end up winning us games and winning us championships.”

And had a goalie winning the Tewaaraton.

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