Thornton named Tewaaraton Award finalist

Taylor Thornton was named a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award, the Tewaaraton Foundation announced Thursday.

Known as a sterling defender prior to this season, Thornton won the IWLCA National Defender of the Year award last year and was the leader of one of the best defensive units in the country. This year, she claimed the honor of American Lacrosse Conference Player of the Year. Converted to primarily midfield duties for NU this season, Thornton recorded the first goal of the season for the Cats against Stanford.

The award is given annually to the best men’s and women’s collegiate lacrosse players in the nation, and five finalists are selected out of a pool of nominees. Senior attacker Shannon Smith won the award last season but was left off this year’s finalists list despite scoring 60 goals and adding 20 assists.

A Northwestern player has won the award five of the last six years, but Thornton faces stiff competition this season for the honor. The other four finalists are Florida midfielder Brittany Dashiell, North Carolina attacker Becky Lynch, Maryland attacker Katie Schwarzmann and Syracuse attacker Michelle Tumolo. Thornton picked up a team-high 44 groundballs this season while anchoring a stout Cats defense. The junior midfielder also scored 27 goals, which was the fourth most on the team.

The winner will be announced May 31 at a banquet in Washington, D.C.

– Josh Walfish and Dan Ryan