PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

2017 was a special year for Stony Brook's No. 17. Kylie Ohlmiller set the NCAA single-season scoring record.

20 Moments That Made Our Year


From the inspirational to the viral and everything in between, these were the times to remember in 2017.

Berkman’s 500th

Salisbury was in the midst of another successful season when coach Jim Berkman hit a milestone no NCAA coach has ever reached. Through an otherwise uneventful 26-4 blowout of Wesley, Berkman earned his 500th career win — most of any NCAA coach regardless of division.

Berkman also added his 12th national championship, an NCAA best, at the end of the season.

‘Chris Hogan, Penn State Lacrosse’

The lacrosse community beamed with pride after one of its most notable alumni, New England Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan, gave the sport a shoutout on “Sunday Night Football” last year. Little did they know that he’d continue the upward trajectory through the Super Bowl.

Hogan, the former Penn State lacrosse star, set a Patriots’ postseason record with 180 receiving yards to go with nine catches and two touchdowns in the AFC Championship game on Jan. 22. That brought his name and lacrosse background to the limelight during Super Bowl festivities.

Zeke Gets His Wish

Ezekiel Brown captured the hearts of the Denver Outlaws and the broader lacrosse community when the MLL franchise signed him to a one-day contract via the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Warrior Lacrosse also inked “Zeke,” a survivor of synovial sarcoma, with an endorsement deal that outfitted him as the Outlaws’ honorary captain July 27 in a game with playoff implications against the Chesapeake Bayhawks. Denver’s Eric Law, Brown’s youth lacrosse coach, scored the game-winner in overtime, then hoisted Brown as they celebrated together.

Standing O

Lacrosse made its debut in The World Games, a non-Olympic multi-sport event hosted by the International World Games Association, as the U.S. women’s national team blanked Poland 20-0 in the opener July 27 in Wroclaw, Poland. Despite the lopsided result — the U.S. outshot Poland 49-0 and won 18 of 22 draws — the home side earned a standing ovation for its effort. Poland, which first established a women’s program in 2013, did not participate in the World Cup and had only played in a few European tournaments. (The more seasoned Polish men’s team has competed in the last two FIL World Championship events.) Lacrosse’s inclusion in The World Games was a major milestone in its quest to return to the Olympics.

Finally!

Maryland, cursed for decades full of fruitless final four appearances, ended its well-documented NCAA men’s lacrosse championship drought with a 9-5 victory over Ohio State on Memorial Day. “This team had a mission all year,” defensive midfielder Nick Manis said of winning the school’s first national title since 1975. “We just had the mindset that we wanted to get it done. There was no other option.”


Lacrosse’s inclusion in The World Games was a major milestone in its quest to return to the Olympics.


Zed’s Return

Virginia’s Zed Williams returned to Charlottesville during the first quarter of the Cavaliers’ April 9 game against North Carolina after the death of his father, Daniel. Williams, of the Seneca Nation, had just finished observing the 10-day mourning period, an Iroquois tradition. The Klockner Stadium crowd cheered Zed as teammates took turns hugging him — all in the middle of a spirited ACC game.

Williams played inspired lacrosse. Most memorably, he zipped an unbelievable bounce pass through three UNC defensemen to Mike D’Amario on the doorstep for an assist to go with his three goals in a 15-12 Virginia loss.

Celly Supreme

NFL teams aren’t the only ones having fun with celebrations.

Choreographed celebrations at the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Game on July 1 included a Terrell Owens-like autograph, a human bicycle, a bobsled simulation and a game of duck, duck, goose. But Bubba Fairman’s “RKO out of nowhere” took the cake.

Also, Notre Dame’s Ryder Garnsey gets a nod for his “dead fish” celebration after scoring the game-winner in overtime at Virginia on March 18.

Record KO’d

Kylie Ohlmiller was an offensive force even before the 2017 season, but she stepped up in the absence of fellow Stony Brook attacker Courtney Murphy. Ohlmiller broke the Division I single-season points record with 164 on 78 goals and 86 assists, leading the Seawolves to the NCAA quarterfinals.

Landmark Legislation

After months of campaigning for an early recruiting proposal that would restrict contact between a recruit and coach until Sept. 1 of the junior year, US Lacrosse and many within the lacrosse community celebrated as the bill was passed by the NCAA Division I Council on April 14.

The legislation marked the biggest hurdle passed en route to curbing the early recruiting trend in lacrosse.

Goalie Goal

Want to strike lacrosse social media gold? Post a video of a goalie heaving or carrying the ball the length of the field to score.

It happened on several occasions this year, most notably on July 4, when Denver Outlaws goalie Jack Kelly picked off a pass on the defensive end and hit a full-field buzzer-beater, much to the embarrassment of Atlanta Blaze goalie Adam Ghitelman, who was drinking water.

Ghitelman would mention that he allowed the only 2-point goal by a goalie in MLL history as part of an icebreaker exercise U.S. team tryouts the following month. Kelly followed him and confessed that he had scored the goal before they exchanged a good-natured hug in front of the other players.








Got ‘Em!

Joel Tinney provided the highlight of the lacrosse season in Johns Hopkins’ season opener against Navy on Feb. 7. Tinney faked a pass to teammate John Crawley and scored from 40 yards out on a hidden-ball trick that completely fooled the Navy defense.

He did it again to beat Loyola on Feb. 18.

Tehoka

The NCAA lacrosse scene welcomed a new human highlight reel in the form of Albany freshman Tehoka Nanticoke. He was a heralded as the No. 1 recruit in the 2018 freshman class, and if the fall is any indication, he’ll back it up.

He already cracked the #SCTop10 and he hasn’t even played an NCAA lacrosse game.

Final Four Breakthroughs

Memorial Day weekend marked the return and debut of a couple of teams on each the men’s and women’s side. For the men, Towson returned to the final four for the first time since 2001 and Ohio State made it for the first time ever.

On the women’s side, Navy shocked defending champion North Carolina to make its first final four and Boston College rode Kenzie Kent to the same honor.

Salt Lax City

After a year of speculation, Utah announced June 16 it would add men’s lacrosse as a varsity sport beginning in 2018-19, making it the westernmost and first Pac-12 school to sponsor the sport at the NCAA Division I level.

Utah is about 500 miles west of Denver, previously the western outpost for Division I men’s lacrosse. Pioneers coach Bill Tierney, who left Princeton in 2009 in part to help lead the sport’s westward expansion, praised the decision.

“It’s what we’ve all been waiting for,” he said.

Bates No. 1

The Bates men’s lacrosse team, a one-time NESCAC doormat, rose to No. 1 in national rankings for the first time in school history. The Bobcats’ 10-0 start got them to the top spot in the Nike/US Lacrosse Division III Men’s Top 20 on April 17. Two wins the ensuing week led them to the same perch in the USILA Division III Top 20. Bates, which narrowly missed the NCAA tournament in 2016, wound up advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals and finishing 16-2.




PHOTO COURTESY OF GEORGIA SWARM

The four Thompson brothers — Jerome Jr. (Haina), Lyle, Miles and Jeremy — took the floor as the Georgia Swarm hosted the Saskatchewan Rush on Jan. 7.


Four Brothers

The Thompson Brothers made history again. In the Georgia Swarm’s home opener against the Saskatchewan Rush on Jan. 7, the Thompsons set a Guinness World Record by having all four brothers play at the same time in a professional lacrosse game. Officially, they hold claim to the title of “most siblings to compete in same professional lacrosse game.”

They Made It

After the Iroquois Nationals’ much-publicized passport protest kept them out of the 2010 FIL Men’s World Championship in Manchester, England, and after the Haudenosaunee missed the 2015 FIL U19 Women’s World Championship in Edinburgh, Scotland, over the same dispute, the Haudenosaunee senior women made it to the U.K. for the 2017 FIL Women’s World Cup using their native passports. The Haudenosaunee Confederacy has issued passports since 1977.

Match Made

VMI senior goalie Michael Hutwelker donated his stem cells to a 51-year-old man battling leukemia through the HEADStrong Foundation. Hutwelker gave a cheek swab at a HEADStrong tournament in 2013, and was a match in April, missing two games to donate.

Born to Run

On Sept. 7, a little more than one year after losing her left leg in a moped accident on Martha’s Vineyard, UMass-Lowell women’s lacrosse player Noelle Lambert passed the team’s run test with a prosthetic leg. Inside Lacrosse featured Lambert on the cover of its “Adversity Issue.”

‘Momma, I’ve Been Waiting My Whole Life for Today’

Brady Wein took the field for his first lacrosse game on May 27. After battling acute myeloid leukemia since he was seven weeks old, Wein went into remission in 2011. Now 9, Wein played his first game at the Texas Lax Festival in Lockhart, Texas.