Taylor makes history as Sullivan Award finalist

By Demetrius Dillard/The Sports Pulse Contributor

COLLEGE PARK — Former University of Maryland (UMD) women’s lacrosse goalie Megan Taylor has been selected as a finalist for the James E. Sullivan Award, marking a historical moment for collegiate lacrosse.

Every year, The Sullivan Award, presented by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), recognizes the nation’s most outstanding amateur athlete whose accomplishments are accompanied by qualities of leadership, character and sportsmanship. 

Taylor, a 2019 graduate from the program, becomes the first lacrosse player to be nominated as a finalist in the 90-year history of the award.

“I am so honored to represent Maryland and the sport of lacrosse as a finalist for the AAU Sullivan Award,” Taylor said. 

“It is truly humbling to be selected alongside America’s best college athletes for this prestigious honor. Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without all the incredible support I’ve gotten from the most amazing family, teammates, and coaches in the world. This is the perfect way to cap off the best four years of my life!”

Former University of Maryland goalie Megan Taylor

Winning the AAU Sullivan award would be a perfect culmination to one of the most accomplished college lacrosse players ever, male or female. In addition to leading the Terps to national championships in 2017 and 2019, the Howard County native was the first goalie to win the Tewaaraton Award. 

Some of Taylor’s additional achievements include being named the 2019 IWLCA (Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association) Player of the Year, 2019 Honda Sport Award winner, two-time IWLCA Goalie of the Year, four-time Big Ten Goaltender of the Year, 2019 NCAA tournament MVP, and 2018-19 UMD Student-Athlete of the Year, among several other athletic and academic honors.

Taylor joins nine other finalists who are in the running for the award, including UCLA gymnast Kyla Ross, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Marquette basketball guard Markus Howard and Oregon women’s basketball guard Sabrina Ionescu, to name a few. 

Throughout her career at Maryland, Taylor powered the Terps’ staggering defense by posting 740 saves (second-most in program history) with a .512 save percentage, in addition to allowing only 177 goals in 23 games as a senior.

May 26, 2019 – NCAA Tournament MVP Megan Taylor recorded 10 saves in the finals and led Maryland to a 22-1 season. Photo by Mike Clark/The Sports Pulse

Since leaving College Park, Taylor joined the Naval Academy’s women’s lacrosse program as a volunteer assistant coach last summer. Her responsibilities primarily include working directly with Navy’s goalies.

Many past athletes who won the distinguished award in previous years have gone on to become household names, some of whom include Wilma Rudolph (1961), Bill Walton (1973), Bruce Jenner (1976), Carl Lewis (1981), Joan Benoit (1985), Janet Evans (1989), Peyton Manning (1997), Michael Phelps (2003), Tim Tebow (2007), Shawn Johnson (2008), Missy Franklin (2012), and Ezekiel Elliott (2014).

The winner will be announced at the 90th annual AAU Sullivan Award ceremony, scheduled to take place at the New York Athletic Club on April 21. Voting for the award closes on March 30 at 11:59 p.m.

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