T.J. Toivonen named ORLC Defensive Player of the Year to lead award winners for Transylvania men's lacrosse

TJ Toivonen Defensive Player of the Year

Greenwood, Ind. – Transylvania men's lacrosse sophomore long-stick midfielder T.J. Toivonen has been selected as the Ohio River Men's Lacrosse Conference Defensive Player of the Year, the conference announced Monday.

Toivonen, a sophomore from Sherwood, Oregon (Sherwood HS), put together a magnificent sophomore campaign to lead a lengthy list of Transylvania All-ORLC award winners for the 2018 season.

Along with Toivonen, sophomore attacker Trenton Sneed (Milford, Ohio / Milford HS) and junior defensive midfielder Webb VanMeter (Lexington, Ky. / Henry Clay) were named to the All-ORLC First Team.

1st and 2nd team winners

Three Pioneers were named All-ORLC Second Team, including junior midfielder Nic Bailey (Mission Hills, Kan. / East HS), sophomore defender Ben Kraft (LaGrange, Ky. / North Oldham HS), and sophomore face-off midfielder Paul Stickel (Louisville, Ky. / Trinity HS). All-ORLC Honorable mention awards went to senior attackers Brad Clements (Loveland, Ohio / Loveland HS) and Josh Mesmer (Lexington, Ky. / Lexington Catholic HS), junior midfielder Alex Cherry (Louisville, Ky. / St. Xavier HS), freshman midfielder Kayd Aquino (Sherwood, Ore. / Sherwood HS), junior long-stick midfielder Logan Fogle (Louisville, Ky. / Ballard HS), and freshman goalie Michael Webb (Louisville, Ky. / Trinity HS). Senior midfielder Brandon Heller (Dillsburg, Pa. / Northern HS) was named to the ORLC All-Sportsmanship Team.

Honorable mention

Toivonen bloomed in his sophomore season, leading a Pioneers squad which finished second in the ORLC regular season standings and won their fourth consecutive ORLC Tournament championship and second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. Toivonen's all-around game helped the Pioneers lead the ORLC in clears once again with 318 on the season and an 85 percent clearance rate. The sophomore led the conference in caused turnovers with 55 and ranked third in the ORLC in ground balls with 97. Toivonen displayed his versatility, collecting 13 goals (7th on Transy) and 17 points on the season. With Toivonen stretching Transylvania's defense, the Pioneers ranked third in conference in goals-against average. During the regular season, Toivonen was named ORLC Defensive Player of the Week three different times. 

This marks the second straight season Toivonen has been named to the All-ORLC First Team. Following in the footsteps of former goalie Cooper Fogle who won the award the previous two seasons, Toivonen is now the third straight Transylvania representative to win Defensive Player of the Year honors in the ORLC.

Sneed propelled the Transylvania offense, leading the ORLC in assists with 43 total. Sneed added 26 goals for a total of 69 points, which ranked second in conference. The sophomore totaled seven different games of five points or more. Over the final five games prior to the NCAA Tournament, Sneed delivered 21 assists for the Pios.

VanMeter was an active cog in the Pioneers offensive and defensive attack as he earned his way onto the All-ORLC First Team. The defensive midfielder claimed 32 ground balls, six caused turnovers, and seven points. During conference play, VanMeter amplified a defense which held ORLC opponents to fewer than five goals a game.

With conference awards in tow, the Pioneers now look ahead to their second trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history. Transylvania commences NCAA Tournament play on Wednesday, May 9 at 5:30 p.m. as the Pioneers visit the Washington and Lee University Generals in Lexington, Virginia in a second-round matchup.

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