Sports

Molloy ’17 wins Tewaaraton Award

Annual award for best college lacrosse player first in Brown's history

By
senior staff writer
Saturday, June 4, 2016

Dylan Molloy ’17 cemented his legacy at Brown as one of its best lacrosse players ever after becoming the school’s first winner of the Tewaaraton Award, given annually to the top player in college lacrosse. After a record-breaking season for Molloy and the team, he received the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., Thursday.

“I thought I had a good shot just given that Brown got farther than a lot of (other) finalists,” Molloy said. “Just to be up on the stage to begin with was pretty unreal.”

Molloy was the top weapon on Brown’s attack, spearheading an offense that led the country in scoring and landed the Bears in the national semifinal for just the second time in school history. The first-team All-American finished with 116 points in 18 games, a 6.44-points-per-game average — the best mark in the country.

But the season was not all smooth sailing for Molloy. The junior broke his foot in the NCAA tournament first-round win over Johns Hopkins, forcing him to sit out the quarterfinal contest against Navy. After the win over Navy and in the week leading up to the final four, Head Coach Lars Tiffany ’90 indicated that Molloy was unlikely to play.

But to the surprise of many, Molloy marched out for warmups against top-ranked Maryland on a broken foot. While he was not in the starting lineup, he played a majority of the game and scored two goals in Brown’s 15-14 overtime loss. Molloy had a surgical screw inserted in his foot Tuesday and wheeled up to accept his award on a one-footed scooter.

He was considered the favorite for the award before the injury, but a valiant performance, playing injured may have solidified him as the most deserving.

“I think (the Maryland game) helped my case a little bit,” Molloy said.

“We would need a White House investigation if he didn’t win the award,” Tiffany said. “A man went out there any played with a broken foot. It was heroic, really. In our world of college lacrosse, this is one of those moments people will remember for many years.”

Brown may forever wonder what could have been against the Terps — and possibly beyond — had Molloy been healthy throughout the tournament. He also may have made a run at the NCAA record for most points in a season of 128. After the game against Johns Hopkins, he had tallied 114 points for the season.

Molloy’s two goals against Maryland personified his style of play, as he used his 220 pound frame to back down defenders and muscle his way to the net. Three years of work in the weight room allowed Molloy to put on the strength he now uses to bully some of the top defenders in the country.

He was paired with Tiffany as lifting partners as a freshman, a time when Tiffany said Molloy was still taking things slow.

“The first month he was kind of easing into it,” Tiffany said. “I didn’t know if he had really done heavy lifting before.”

But it became clear to Tiffany  that Molloy was capable of much more in the weight room, where he now bench presses 315 pounds and squats 465.

“He has now left me way back in the dust,” Tiffany said. “He made the weight room his ally.”

His improvement in the weight room is one example of the work he has put in to reach the top of the college lacrosse world. Beyond his natural gifts of strength and skill, his work ethic and drive to improve his game has set him apart from other great players, Tiffany said.

“He’s not content,” he said. “He wants to be the best player in the game, and he’s proven that he is.”

“It really does start with how hard he works and how much fun he has. The balance between those two is what I’ve marveled out of him,” said Kylor Bellistri ’16, who played alongside Molloy on the Bears’ attack. “I’ve played with some incredible players over the years, but Dylan is the absolute most fun of anyone out on the lacrosse field.”

The change to Molloy’s skill set that rounded out his game in his junior season was his prowess for sharing the ball and assisting for teammates. While he notched 62 goals in both his sophomore and junior seasons, he upped his helper total from 30 to 54. Often drawing the most attention from opposing defenses, his play-making ability set up fellow attackmen Bellistri and Henry Blynn ’16, who finished with 63 and 52 goals, respectively.

“Him being able to use his body to his advantage and taking a quick step back and feeding a pass, it just shows how talented he is how and how much he’s grown,” Bellistri said.

Molloy credited his work with Assistant Coach Sean Kerwan in the offseason, but also said that Bellistri and Blynn make his job easier.

While the Tewaaraton Award is the most prestigious in the sport, akin to college football’s Heisman Trophy, it was certainly not the only award Molloy earned for his performance this year. On championship weekend, in addition to the announcement of the All-American teams, he was named USILA’s most outstanding player and most outstanding attackman. He was also named Ivy League Player of the Year.

But for all the awards and a school-record 16 wins for the team, Bruno faithful can still look to the future and take solace in the fact he will be wearing the brown and white for another year. Staying true to his impeccable work ethic, Molloy will focus on getting healthy and then get back to the weight room.

“Now, there’s more of a challenge to find obvious things he needs to work on. But there are some subtle things,” Tiffany said. “But what I do know, is that whatever we come up with for Dylan, he will take it to heart. That’s what is making him the best player in the college game.”