HS Wrap 2017: Dwyer Caps Extraordinary Career as Two-Time Midwest Player of Year

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Loyola Academy (Ill.) midfielder Brennan Dwyer capped off an impressive four-year career at Loyola by leading the state in nearly every major statistical category, including goals (108), assists (60), caused turnovers (49) and draw controls (251).


The 2017 season was a special one for the father-daughter duo of John and Brennan Dwyer at Loyola Academy (Ill.).

John Dwyer, the longtime head coach of the Ramblers girls’ lacrosse team, guided his squad to a ninth consecutive Illinois state title and No. 15 national ranking, and much of that success came because of his daughter’s performance on the field.

Brennan Dwyer capped off an impressive four-year career at Loyola by leading the state in nearly every major statistical category, including goals (108), assists (60), caused turnovers (49) and draw controls (251). After leading the Ramblers to a 28-2 overall record, she is the Epoch/US Lacrosse Midwest Player of the Year for a second straight season.

“The statistics she had against the best teams, that is just an inner drive that is so hard to explain. It is hard to quantify,” John Dwyer said. “She has the ability to bring players along with her.”

Not that Brennan Dwyer wasn’t already surrounded by great talent at Loyola. Her supporting cast, coupled with her team-first mentality, has proven to be a winning combination in her four seasons at Loyola, John Dwyer said.

“Her success is staggering, but that doesn’t happen if you don’t have Madison Kane (58 goals, 45 assists) make the tough pass to her,” John Dwyer said. “The statistics speak nothing to her. She has never brought up in four years how many goals she had. The only statistic we harp on is the draw control number, and that number is off the charts.”

Nike/US Lacrosse High School Rankings
National Boys' Top 25 | National Girls' Top 25
Northeast Boys' Top 10 | Northeast Girls' Top 10
Mid-Atlantic Boys' Top 10 | Mid-Atlantic Girls' Top 10
South Boys' Top 10
| South Girls' Top 10
Midwest Boys' Top 10
| Midwest Girls' Top 10
West Boys' Top 10
| West Girls' Top 10

The stats have always been there, though. Brennan Dwyer led Loyola last year with 96 goals and 80 assists to go along with 77 ground balls, 61 caused turnovers and 236 draw controls. Still, she deflected the credit to the senior class, citing the familiarity players had with each other in delivering Loyola’s last four state titles.

“We are all real supportive of each other, and we all know how well we work together and people’s strengths and weaknesses,” Brennan Dwyer said. “The seniors have been playing together since the sixth or seventh grade, so it is pretty awesome that all four years in high school, [we were able] to bring out state titles every year. And nine of 12 of us seniors are going to play Division I lacrosse.”

Brennan Dwyer has been tied to Loyola Academy lacrosse since her dad took helm of the program in 2001. Her three older sisters all played for the Ramblers before playing collegiately, and John Dwyer has enjoyed watching his fourth daughter develop over the last four years.

“She has been coming to practice for a long time,” John Dwyer said. “We always knew she would play. We didn’t know she would assimilate like that, and how that transformed to becoming the outstanding player she is.”

Even though Brennan Dwyer has been a top-flight player since her freshman season, John Dwyer said her play has improved in each season, culminating in the Illinois state title game on June 2 against New Trier, when she scored seven goals to lift the Ramblers to a 15-9 win.

“This whole senior year was on whole other level, and [the state championship] was on a whole another level within her senior year,” John Dwyer said.

Brennan Dwyer will enroll at Northwestern and play for coach Kelly Amonte Hiller. Northwestern is just miles away from her high school, but its proximity was not a major factor in her decision to play there.

Just like how Brennan Dwyer was a familiar face at Loyola Academy before high school, she has been around Northwestern’s program through its camps led by Amonte Hiller over the years. She looks forward to joining a program with such a storied past, as the Wildcats had a run of 10 straight NCAA semifinal appearances from 2006 to 2015, with seven national championships.

“I’ll be challenged a lot, which will be nice,” Brennan Dwyer said. “It is going to be a huge change. A lot more practicing, lifting, things like that. I am going to put in a lot of work, but they do a great job at making the switch easier for us.”







EPOCH/US LACROSSE MIDWEST PLAYER OF THE YEAR

BRENNAN DWYER

School: Loyola Academy (Ill.)
Year: Senior
Position: Attacker
Stats: 106 goals, 60 assists, 49 caused turnovers, 251 draw controls

Coach John Dwyer: “The statistics she had against the best teams, that is just an inner drive that is so hard to explain. It is hard to quantify. She has the ability to bring players along with her. I quantify that by saying she has been surrounded by great teammates. There is just a rapport in four years that she and her teammates play as a team.”  

Also notable: Naomi Rogge, Eden Prairie (Minn.); Anna Santulli, Hinsdale Central (Ill.); Olivia Schildmeyer, Upper Arlington (Ohio)

NIKE/US LACROSSE MIDWEST TOP 10 (FINAL)

1. Loyola Academy (Ill.), 28-2

The Ramblers, led by senior Brennan Dwyer, won their ninth straight state title by defeating New Trier (Ill.) 15-9 on June 2. Loyola’s only losses came against nationally-ranked St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.) and Ohio champion Upper Arlington, and the Ramblers finished at No. 15 overall. Dwyer finished the season with a state-leading 108 goals to go along with 60 assists and 251 draw controls, and teammate Madison Kane joined the 100-point club with 103 points this season.

2. Upper Arlington (Ohio), 19-2

After opening the season 1-2 with a pair of losses in Georgia, the Golden Bears won their final 18 games to repeat as state champions. They won the Division I title with a 15-6 decision over then-undefeated Massillon Jackson (Ohio) on June 3. Upper Arlington’s season was highlighted by a win over Loyola Academy (Ill.), and Olivia Schildmeyer led the way with 50 goals and 28 assists for the year.

3. Rockford (Mich.), 20-2

The Rams won their fifth straight state title on June 10 by defeating Birmingham Unified (Mich.) 17-7. Rockford’s season was punctuated with a win over New Trier (Ill.), and the Rams’ two losses were against the teams ranked ahead of them. Mekenzie Vander Molen led the team with 51 goals and 33 assists.

4. Eden Prairie (Minn.), 18-1

The Eagles collected their third straight Minnesota state title after defeating Blake School 16-10 on June 17. Eden Prairie went a perfect 18-0 against in-state competition. Naomi Rogge, a senior committed to play hockey at Minnesota-Duluth, scored a team-leading 88 goals and 37 assists. Teammate Sammie Morton tallied 74 goals and 26 assists. 

5. Cathedral (Ind.), 17-1

The Irish won their second state title in three years after defeating previously unbeaten Culver Academy (Ind.) by a 12-11 margin on June 3. Cathedral’s only loss came against Loveland (Ohio) on April 8 and the Irish also had notable wins against Zionsville (Ind.) and Noblesville (Ind.).

6. Massillon Jackson (Ohio), 21-1

The Polar Bears couldn’t complete a perfect season, as they were upended by defending champion Upper Arlington (Ohio) in the state final for a second straight year on June 3. A pair of wins over New Albany (Ohio) and a three-win trip to Georgia punctuated Jackson’s season. Julia Hartnett finished the year with 75 goals, and Liz Davide scored 44 goals and added 14 assists.

7. New Trier (Ill.), 22-4 

The Trevians finished as state runners-up after falling to Loyola Academy (Ill.) 15-9 in the final June 2. New Trier defeated in-state rival Hinsdale Central twice, including a 7-5 win in the state semifinals. Katherine Gjertsen led the way for New Trier with 123 points.

8. Hinsdale Central (Ill.), 16-6

The Red Devils officially ended the season in third place in Illinois after defeating Glenbrook South (Ill.) 9-8 in the state’s consolation game June 2. Hinsdale won big interstate contests against Cranbrook Kingswood (Mich.) and Potomac School (D.C.). Anna Santulli (Stanford) scored 84 goals and added 36 assists this season.

9. Culver Academy (Ind.), 17-1

Despite a furious comeback, the Eagles lost in the state title game to Cathedral 12-11 on June 3. Culver played a mostly in-state schedule, but defeated Fenwick (Ill.) during its unbeaten regular season.

10. Hudson (Ohio), 16-3

The Explorers’ season ended on May 27 with a loss to then-undefeated Massillon Jackson in the regional finals. Two of Hudson’s three losses came against Jackson, but the Explorers had notable wins over Revere (Ohio) and New Albany (Ohio). 

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