Bellarmine Breakthrough for Ward Earns #BestOfLax
|This story originally appeared in the December 2013 issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Join US Lacrosse today to receive your copy. (John Strohsacker)|
Fans of the Canadian Junior A league are no strangers to Dillon Ward's talent — he won Minto Cup titles with the Orangeville Northmen in 2008, 2009 and 2012 and he's a three-time Robert Melville Memorial Award winner as the most outstanding goalie in the Junior A ranks.
But Ward had not made a splash in the field game until this spring, leading all NCAA Division I goalies with a 66.2 save percentage and finishing sixth in goals against average (7.68) to earn ECAC Goalie of the Year and third-team All American honors for Bellarmine.
Ward, the Knights' first-ever All-American, was drafted by the MLL's Ohio Machine and then traded to the Hamilton Nationals, where he served as Brett Queener's primary backup for the second half of the season and earned a tryout with Team Canada for next year's FIL World Championship.
In September, the Colorado Mammoth selected Ward with the No. 3 overall pick in the NLL draft—the highest a goalie has gone in the draft since Gee Nash was the No. 2 pick behind John Grant Jr. in 1999.
The fans went a drastically different direction in their voting than the LM staff, selecting Denver Outlaws sniper and west coast native Drew Snider with a large plurality in the fan vote. North Carolina NCAA champion and Honda Award winner Kara Cannizzaro was second, followed by Syracuse/Lizards/Team USA (hopeful) JoJo Marasco.
Drew Snider, Denver Outlaws 40%
Kara Cannizzaro, North Carolina 28%
JoJo Marasco, Syracuse/New York Lizards 17%
Eric Law, Denver Outlaws 8%
Dillon Ward, Bellarmine 7%