Dominant Cummings Adds to Maryland's Tewaaraton Legacy
|Cummings, flanked by men's Tewaaraton co-winners Miles (left) and Lyle Thompson. All three wins presented firsts - the Thompsons being the first co-winners of the award, and Cummings the first sophomore. (John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com)|
25 teams eliminated. Four matchups dominated. 27 draws controlled. 14 points tallied.
What's left is priceless: one NCAA champion, one Most Outstanding Player, one Tewaaraton winner.
Crunching the numbers, that's exactly how May Madness played out for Maryland sophomore midfielder Taylor Cummings following her team's sixth straight ACC title in their last year in the conference. Now, as a member of the 2014 Division I women's championship team with a 23-1 record, Cummings gets to add one more piece of hardware to her collection – the Tewaaraton Trophy.
On Thursday night, the Tewaaraton committee revealed Cummings as this year's recipient – after some technical difficulties that made the momentous occasion even more memorable. Fellow teammate and finalist Megan Douty overheard Cummings' name coming from backstage after the teleprompter failed to show the announcers' script, whispered the good news to her, and before the crowd knew it, Douty immediately gave her the biggest hug because "she totally deserves it," Douty said.
"I was really surprised. I didn't expect to win," said Cummings, who topped finalists Douty, Alyssa Murray (Syracuse), Kayla Treanor (Syracuse) and Shannon Gilroy (Florida). "This group was so tough. They're all phenomenal players and I respect each and every one of them. When Megan heard it and she said it, I was just like, 'What! You heard it?' It's an awesome feeling."
The top draw specialist for the mighty Terrapins, Cummings is the first sophomore to take home the honor. She joins the ranks of two-time Tewaaraton award winner and fellow Terp Katie Schwarzmann (2013, 2012), who was a senior when Cummings was a freshman, as well as two other Maryland standouts – Caitlyn McFadden (2010) and Jen Adams (2001).
"It's kind of funny because last year, [2013 finalist] Alex [Aust] saw them open the card and jumped on top of Katie as soon as they acknowledged it," said coach Cathy Reese. "[Megan and Taylor] love each other. They're teammates and so supportive of each other."
Cummings ends her sophomore season as the most well-rounded Terp, taking top marks in goals (63), ground balls (37), draw controls (128) and caused turnovers (30). With the sophomore having two more years to compete for Maryland, coach Cathy Reese couldn't be more excited.
"What a fabulous moment," said Reese. "For her to win the award is such a huge honor for her and the Maryland program. I'm just like a proud parent in the stands. She's on Cloud 9 right now. It's a special moment."
From being overjoyed, Cummings appeared out of breath on stage after receiving the Tewaaraton Trophy, but she nailed her speech, something her mother Carol said comes from her dad Michael.
"I am truly honored to be here," she said at the podium. "The most important thing is I'd like to thank my teammates and my coaches Cathy, Kenis, Caitlyn and Alex. This is not a representation of my abilities. It's a representation of everything we were able to accomplish this year and I couldn't be up here without them."
In addition to receiving the highest honor in college lacrosse last night, Cummings was named to the IWLCA First Team All-America, First Team All-ACC and ACC Championship All-Tournament Team as the Most Outstanding Player, as well as being an ACC Offensive Player of the Week and a candidate for the National Player of the Year.
Video: Tewaaraton Announcements
In the NCAA Tournament, she docked 14 points (13 goals, one assist) and an impressive 27 draw controls, with the most draws captured against Penn (10 of her team's 17). Even when faced with a tight faceguard from Northwestern in the semifinals, Cummings was still a playmaker for her Terps, grabbing 40 percent of her team's draw controls and winning key possessions with her speed and relentless mentality to allow Maryland to advance to the title game.
"I'm extremely proud of her, but I'm more proud of the team and the coaches because without all of their efforts, she wouldn't have been here tonight," said Michael Cummings. "To see your daughter's name get announced, it's incredibly humbling."
Cummings became a part of a historical night for the Tewaaraton Award, as she was soon flanked by not one, but two male winners for pictures following the ceremony – Lyle and Miles Thompson, attackmen from the University of Albany and the first Native American recipients of the honor.
And what does Cummings plan to do with her new hardware?
"It's going to go in Maryland's office," she said. "I think that's where it belongs and that's where it's going to stay."
Jimerson Wins US Lacrosse Tewaaraton Native American Scholarship
Alie Jimerson, a senior from Lake Shore High School (N.Y.), won the eighth annual US Lacrosse Tewaaraton Native American Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to two young Iroquois student-athletes – one male and one female – who excel in the classroom and on the field. As a member of the Cayuga Nation, Bear Clan, Jimerson competed at the 2013 FIL World Cup in Canada and will play in the 2015 U19 World Championship in Scotland representing the Haudenosaunee Nation. In the fall, she will attend and play lacrosse at the University of Albany.
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