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Five Maryland men’s lacrosse players receive Big Ten yearly honors

Three Terps earned first-team honors.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

No. 7 Maryland men’s lacrosse came up short in its mission to win the Big Ten regular-season title, but five Terps were still recognized with Big Ten yearly honors, it was announced Wednesday.

Senior defenseman Brett Makar won the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award and was named to the All-Big Ten first team. Makar wore the coveted No. 1 jersey for the Terps this year — the first defender to do so — and did not disappoint. He was one of Maryland’s most consistent players during the regular season, recording 36 ground balls and 17 caused turnovers, often while guarding the opponent’s best offensive player. This is Makar’s second Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award and third first-team selection.

Junior defenseman Ajax Zappitello was also named to the All-Big Ten first team. He and Makar create one of the best defensive duos in the country. Zappitello leads the Terps in caused turnovers (21) for the second consecutive year, tacking on 29 ground balls, two goals and two assists. This is his first All-Big Ten selection.

Senior faceoff specialist Luke Wierman was named to the All-Big Ten first team for the second time in his career. He is one of the best faceoff specialists in program history, ranking second in career faceoff wins (576) and third in ground balls (307). Wierman has a 0.620 faceoff winning percentage, the eighth-highest in the country, and is a nominee — along with Makar — for the Tewaaraton Award.

Freshman attackman Braden Erksa was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, the first Terp to ever win the award. Erksa was recruited from IMG Academy in Florida and is already one of the Terps’ most dynamic players. He leads the team in points (32) with 17 goals and 15 assists, while maintaining a 0.378 shot percentage. Erksa has been on fire as of late, tallying nine goals and six assists over the last four games, and was twice named Big Ten Freshman of the Week this season.

Graduate goalie Teddy Dolan also earned a Big Ten Sportsmanship award. Dolan is one of the most energetic players on the Terps sideline and has been a mentor for freshman goalie Brian Ruppel.

Maryland’s postseason begins on Saturday against Rutgers in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.