April 2, 2014
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Three Patriot League men's lacrosse student-athletes have been named finalists for the illustrious Senior CLASS Award, it was announced Wednesday.
Loyola University Maryland co-captains Joe Fletcher and Justin Ward and Lehigh's Ty Souders are among the 10 players who made the final list. The Patriot League and Atlantic Coast Conference are the only leagues with more than one finalist. Army's Brendan Buckley won the Men's Lacrosse Senior CLASS Award in 2013.
The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 20 candidates announced in February. Nationwide fan voting began Wednesday to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website or on the Senior CLASS Award Facebook fan page through May 12. Fans can vote for up to three candidates once per day.
Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner, who will be announced during the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship May 24-26 in Baltimore.
Fletcher was a 2013 USILA First Team All-America selection as a junior defenseman for the Greyhounds. He and Ward have led the Greyhounds to a 9-1 record and No. 1 national ranking in both the coach and media polls. In addition to his stellar play on the field, Fletcher carries a 3.79 GPA as an accounting major with a minor in information technology. He is also a member of Loyola's Green & Grey Society and co-president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Ward was named a pre-season Second Team All-American by Inside Lacrosse/Face-Off Yearbook prior to the 2014 season and recently became the Greyhounds all-time Division I leader in assists and has gone over the century mark for his career. A finance major, Ward has a 3.216 grade point average and is Director of Media for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Souders was named a Lehigh team captain and also a pre-season Second Team All-American by Inside Lacrosse/Face-Off Yearbook prior to the 2014 season. A four year starter for the Mountain Hawks, Souders has anchored a defense that has annually been ranked in the top 10 nationally. Souders has a 3.54 GPA as a Finance major and been named to the Academic All-Patriot League in each of the last two seasons. He also has been active in the local schools and community as a member of the C.O.A.C.H program and Lehigh's Leadership Legacies Program.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.