Men's Tewaaraton Stock Watch: A New Favorite Emerges


CJ Kirst delivered the best single-game points total of February.

A huge game in late February isn’t winning anyone the Tewaaraton Award.

But it can win a player some warranted attention and plant a seed to pay even more attention down the road.

Take Brown star Devon McLane, who dropped nine goals on Vermont in the Bears’ 22-12 win in Burlington on Saturday. The senior was hardly a secret coming into the season and now has 13 goals and eight assists in three games.

Then there’s Saint Joseph’s maestro Zach Cole, who leads the country in faceoff winning percentage (.772) among players who have taken more than one draw. (The NCAA’s ranking system currently stipulates only that a guy appears in 75 percent of his team’s games, so there are four 1-for-1 faceoff men listed ahead of Cole.)

Cole had a memorable outing against Providence on Saturday, winning all 24 of his draws while snagging 22 ground balls as the Hawks rolled to a 19-6 rout. It was only the fifth perfect faceoff showing of at least 24 draws in Division I history; TD Ierlan had three (two for Albany in 2018 and one for Yale in 2019) and Sacred Heart’s Zach Smith had the other in 2007. The ground ball total was tied for the fifth most ever in D-I.

The best single-game points total of February was also delivered in the last few days — in this case, by someone who was already assumed to be in the Tewaaraton mix and rose to the top of this week’s list as a result.

1. CJ Kirst, A, Cornell (16 G, 5 A)

The junior had seven goals and four assists on Tuesday against Hobart. The Statesmen’s entire roster totaled eight goals and two assists in Cornell’s 17-8 victory.

The 11-point outing was the most for any Division I player since Yale’s Matt Brandau had 11 against Quinnipiac on April 26 of last year and the most for a Big Red player since Jeff Teat’s 12-point day against Brown in 2018. Kirst is shooting 44.4 percent through three games, as Cornell (3-0) heads into March as one of seven undefeated teams left in Division I.

2. Brennan O’Neill, A, Duke (15 G, 13 A)

Just another day at the office for the junior, who had two goals and three assists at Penn on Saturday. O’Neill has posted at least four points in each of Duke’s five games, demonstrating an impressive degree of consistency.

O’Neill leads the country in points (28) and is tied for second in assists. The per-game numbers are a bit lower (11th and tied for 10th, respectively), but O’Neill is a force well on his way to a monster season.

3. Connor Shellenberger, A, Virginia (6 G, 12 A)

The Cavaliers didn’t lean upon Shellenberger much in their 17-6 drubbing of Ohio State, as Payton Cormier scored seven times and the Virginia defense bottled up the Buckeyes.

Shellenberger? He had two assists and only took two shots, but Ohio State still had to account for him. He drops a couple spots, though he’ll have plenty of opportunities in the coming weeks to remind everyone he’s the engine usually responsible for the Cavaliers’ offense reaching peak efficiency.

4. A Pat Kavanagh, Notre Dame (3 G, 14 A)

It’s worth remembering that good teams — as in, teams good enough to contend for national titles — are likely to be represented on a Tewaaraton finalist list. So even though the Fighting Irish are only scheduled to play 12 games, there is a decent chance they wind up with a representative in Washington in early June if they’re a top-four seed.

Kavanagh is the most likely to be that guy for Notre Dame (goalie Liam Entenmann is another obvious candidate for that conversation). The senior had a goal and two assists in Saturday’s rout of Georgetown as part of a balanced day for the Irish offense. That game won’t play prominently in Kavanagh's season highlight clips, but it won’t hurt his Tewaaraton chances.

5. Matt Campbell, M, Villanova (11 G, 2 A)

The graduate student had five goals and an assist on Sunday at Delaware, tying the Wildcats’ career scoring record in the process. Campbell is off to a fine start while facing a challenging schedule (home games against Penn State and Yale preceded the trip to Newark) and is well-positioned to contend for first-team All-America honors.

Next five: Matt Brandau, A, Yale; Zach Cole, FO, Saint Joseph’s; Devon McLane, A, Brown; Ross Scott, A, Rutgers; Luke Staudt, G, Loyola


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