Saturday, June 18, 2011

FOV Cavalier of the Year, #11/#12

From Old Virginia celebrates its birthday in a unique way: by recognizing one of Virginia's student-athletes as the Cavalier of the Year. What are the criteria for the award? You decide; that's the beauty. I nominate the 12 athletes that I think have been the most outstanding during the latest season of UVA athletics, and provide a short summary of their accomplishments. You choose the winner in a poll that goes up after all 12 have had their moment in the spotlight.

Over the next two weeks, two athletes at a time will be profiled, and you'll hear about what they've accomplished while representing Mr. Jefferson's University this year. The athletes are presented in a totally random order so as to hopefully not imply any endorsement one way or another. Athletes from all fields are considered; part of the point is to emphasize that UVA is about excellence across the
entire department and doesn't shortchange its so-called non-revenue sports simply because they don't make headlines. The previous winners are Danny Hultzen (2009) and Diego Restrepo (2010); today's athletes are Sinead Farrelly and Steele Stanwick.

Sinead Farrelly - Women's soccer - Midfield

Team accomplishments:

- Advanced to round of 16 in NCAA tournament

Personal accomplishments:

- UVA Female Athlete of the Year
- First-team NSCAA all-American
- Herrmann Trophy semifinalist
- ACC Offensive Player of the Year
- Four-time first-team all-ACC selection
- 2nd overall pick in WPS draft
- Team scoring leader with 12 goals and 7 assists in 22 games

I think this is the first year I've nominated a women's soccer player for this award thing, and Sinead Farrelly made it easy by being named Female Athlete of the Year at UVA.  As we've seen already, there is serious competition there.

As a 2-seed in their quarter of the 64-team bracket, the ladies' soccer team hosted three tournament games and earned 3-0 shutouts in the first two before falling 3-2 in the third round.  Farrelly was the team's offensive leader, not only earning OPOY honors in the conference, but becoming the 10th player in conference history to earn four straight first-team all-ACC honors.  And the fifth in school history to be named a first-team all-American.  Without a doubt, Farrelly established herself as one of the elite women's soccer players in the country.

Steele Stanwick - Men's lacrosse - Attack

Team accomplishments:

- National champions

Personal accomplishments:

- Tewaaraton Trophy winner
- ACC Player of the Year
- USILA first-team all-American
- Two overtime game-winning goals

We now have the answer to a question a lot of people were asking before the Tewaaraton Trophy was awarded: Do regular season or playoff results matter more?  Cornell's Rob Pannell had the statistically gaudier regular season, but Steele Stanwick was the playoff hero.  He tallied 21 points in four games to lead UVA to the promised land - a 2011 national championship - and earn his standing as the nation's best lacrosse player.

And he's only a junior, which means he can come back and do it again next year.  Stanwick is the quarterback of a UVA offense that has nigh-unlimited potential - it just needs Steele Stanwick to either operate it or draw so much attention from the defense that other players are virtually ignored.  One or the other usually happens.  Stanwick is perhaps the most precise and accurate attacker UVA has had in the last decade, which, given the tradition of supremely talented attackmen, is high praise.  His passes are nearly always perfect, and he has a real knack for finding the one small opening between the goalie and the net and depositing the ball inside.  He's the Peyton Manning of UVA lacrosse - extremely intelligent and extremely clutch.  As a freshman he apprenticed, you might say, under Danny Glading and Garrett Billings, and this year he truly came into his own.

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