6/14/10 11:09 AM
Three of the Toronto Nationals defense squad have won awards from the National Lacrosse League (NLL). The NLL announced on Wednesday that Edmonton Rush transition player Brodie Merrill won the Transition Player of the Year Award and Orlando Titans goaltender Matt Vinc won the Goaltender of the Year Award for the 2010 season. Additionally, Rochester Knighthawks forward Shawn Williams won the Sportsmanship award for 2010.
Merrill has won Transition Player of the Year Award for the second-straight year and was a key component in Edmonton's five-win improvement from the 2009 season. In addition to his 190 loose balls, the Rush's assistant captain tied his career high with 17 goals and set a new career high with 36 assists. He was named April?s Player of the Month, during which time he tallied nine goals, 11 assists and 60 loose balls that contributed to the Rush's push into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
I'm very honored. All these awards, they're team awards, really. I had a really good time with that group of guys in Edmonton. With the kind of system we play and the teammates around me, it made it easy to step in and contribute in that area of the game," said Merrill. "It's a little bittersweet with the way things ended on the weekend, but we got beat by a very good team. I think we have a very good team with few regrets and have a lot of reasons to be optimistic for the future.
Although Matt Vinc plays amazing defense for the Nationals, he puts on quite a show protecting his net in the NLL as well. In his fifth year in the league, and fourth season with the Titans franchise, Vinc had his the best statistical season of his career, where he set or tied career highs in goals against average (9.51), saves (609), save percentage (.810) and wins (10). Vinc finished first amongst all goaltenders in saves, save percentage and wins, and third in goals against average. He was the only goaltender in the league with more than eight wins and accounted for 10 of Orlando's 11 victories.
Shawn Williams, midfielder for the Nationals and forward for the Rochester Knighthawks, received the 2010 NLL Sportsmanship Award in May 2010. The Scarborough, Ont., native finished second on the Knighthawks with 69 points and led the team with 46 assists. He also managed to stay out of the penalty box for most of the season, spending a mere four minutes in the box in 16 games. Congratulations Shawn!