Winning Big Ten athlete of the week awards probably shouldn't be considered a run of the mill event but for the Maryland Terrapins' athletes who compete in spring sports, that seems to be a developing situation. The conference began announcing its weekly awards Monday afternoon and Terps picked up honors in baseball (1), men's lacrosse (3) and swept all three of the women's lacrosse awards. So, let's get started.
Maryland's first Big Ten baseball Player of the Week is second baseman Brandon Lowe. As a team, the Terrapins finished the week with five wins in five games beginning with sweeping two at Elon on Tuesday and Wednesday and ending with a three game sweep of Minnesota in their first B1G conference series.
Although he was hitless on Saturday, Lowe had multi-hit games in each of the other four. Half of his 12 hits went for extra bases with two doubles, two triples, and two home runs. Lowe leads the Terps with a .407 batting average and is tied for the team lead in home runs with four. He finished the week with seven RBI and eight runs scored and, of course, played flawlessly in the field. He's Maryland's first Player of the Week and joins Mike Shawaryn who has twice been named Pitcher of the Week inthe conference.
With Saturday's win over North Carolina, Maryland's men's lacrosse team improved to 6-1 on the season. The Terps have crept up to number three in both polls and have recorded three straight wins over ranked opponents holding each of them under 10 goals. North Carolina entered the game averaging over 16 per game but were held to eight by Maryland's stingy defense.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that, for the fourth week in a row and fifth time in six weeks, the Terps claimed the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Week. Dunn's work causing one turnover and helping the Terps stifle North Carolina's high powered offense earned him his first Defensive Player of the Week . He joins Kyle Bernlohr, Matt Neufeldt and Casey Ikeda, who's won the award twice, as Terrapins who have been so honored.
Speaking of Neufeldt, he now has a Freshman of the Week Award to add to the defensive award he won on March second. In the game against UNC, Neufeldt picked up nine ground balls and caused a turnover as the Terps held the Tar Heels scoreless for 33 minutes. Neufeldt is Maryland's first Freshman of the Week in men's lacrosse.
The big surprise award went to Joe LoCasio as the Terrapins' first Offensive Player of the Week. Maryland isn't known as an offensive powerhouse and has yet to score more than 12 goals in a game. However, LoCasio scored five goals on 11 shots against North Caroilina accounting for half of Maryland's total scoring. He also picked up two ground balls. He is the first Terp men's lacrosse player to win Offensive Player of the Week.
It was only a matter of time before I expected to be able to write this sentence: The Maryland women's lacrosse team swept the Big Ten weekly awards. The sweep stars Taylor Cummings as Offensive Payer of the Week, Alice Mercer as Defensive Player of the Week and Megan Whittle as Freshman of the Week.
Let's start with the Terps' leading lady, reigning Tewaaraton Award winner Taylor Cummings. In Maryland's wins over Penn and James Madison - both nationally ranked - Cummings amassed five goals and four assists. She picked up 11 draw controls against both Penn and JMU more than either opponent's team total in each game. Cummings leads the Big Ten with averages of 4.67 points per game and 6.89 draw controls per game. She has scored the game winning goal in four of Maryland's nine wins. This is the second Offensive Player of the Week Award for the junior.
Alice Mercer toils in a Maryland defense that is eighth in the country in goals allowed. The Terps held Penn, which had been averaging 12 goals per game to just seven. Against JMU, Mercer caused four turnovers. She joins Alex Fitzpatrick who won the award on February 16th.
And what can we say about the Terps' ingenue, Megan Whittle. Whittle scored seven goals and added an assist in the week's two wins and she did so consistently finding the cage four times versus Penn and three times against the Dukes. This is Whittle's second consecutive Freshman of the Week Award and third for the season.
Stay tuned Terps fans. I expect more award stories in the near future.