Monster NCAA Final Earns Duke's Fowler #BestOfLax Honor
|This story and the rest of the #BestofLax winners are featured in the December 2013 issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Join US Lacrosse to receive the magazine. (Photo by Kevin Tucker)|
Brendan Fowler dominated faceoffs and swung momentum in Duke's favor all season long. Heading into the Blue Devils' national semifinal against Cornell, the junior had won 64.9 percent of his draws and was within range of setting NCAA Division I records for faceoffs won and taken in a year.
The trend continued on the sport's biggest stage. In a 16-14 semifinal win over Cornell and a 16-10 national-title game victory over Syracuse, Fowler won a combined 36 of 59 faceoffs (61 percent) and had 26 ground balls. In the final, Fowler won 13 straight as Duke climbed out of a 5-0 first-quarter deficit and went on a 13-2 run. He finished the day 20-for-28 and became the only player to earn most outstanding player honors in an NCAA tournament without scoring a goal or making a save in the championship game.
"Having Brendan Fowler at the faceoff X certainly doesn't hurt anybody's confidence when he trots out there," Duke coach John Danowski said.
The performance was vintage Fowler. His long hair flowed outside his white helmet and eye black covered much of his face. Syracuse tried six different players against Fowler to no avail.
Fowler set the NCAA Division I record for faceoffs won (339) and obliterated the record for faceoffs taken (526) in a season. His 209 ground balls were second most in a season, behind Bryant's Kevin Massa, who grabbed 231 this spring in another great campaign by a collegiate faceoff man.
"I told John after the game to buy his faceoff guy a big steak, because he deserved one," Syracuse coach John Desko said.
Katie Rowan's dominant showing for Team USA in the FIL World Cup finals against Canada - a monster eight goal, two assist showing - captured the fans hearts and the voting totals, followed closely by Megan Ward's NCAA final four heroics in goal for the champion North Carolina Tar Heels. Miles Thompson was also in the mix for his 14-point game against Stony Brook, with Fowler and Law bringing up the rear in the voting.
Katie Rowan, Team USA (World Cup Final) 36%
Megan Ward, North Carolina (NCAA Final Four) 32%
Miles Thompson, Albany (vs. Stony Brook) 14%
Brendan Fowler, Duke (NCAA Final Four) 13%
Eric Law, Denver Outlaws (MLL Semifinal) 5%