July 22nd, 2014

Former BU All-American earns MVP honors

John Spugnardi

Bellarmine University S.I.D.


Former BU All-American earns MVP honors
Ward was a goalkeeper for Bellarmine / photo from bellarmine.edu/athletics

Whether it was on the collegiate level with the Bellarmine University lacrosse team or against international competition with Canada, the performance of Dillon Ward has led to unprecedented recognition for his goalkeeping abilities.

Ward's latest historical feat came on Saturday at the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championship, where the former Knights' star became the first goalie ever to capture tournament Most Valuable Player honors while leading Canada to an 8-5 victory over the United States at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.

"It's incredible," Ward said on a YouTube clip posted by Inside Lacrosse after the title-game triumph. "It's unbelievable to win with these guys. We were just a family. We came out here and just executed."

Ward excelled in goal for Bellarmine from 2010-13, capping his storied career by becoming the first Knights player to garner All-America recognition after his senior season. He etched his name in FIL World Championship history after registering 10 saves against the U.S. as Canada secured its third world title while preventing the Americans from adding to their record of nine championships.

"Dillon Ward played awesome in goal," praised teammate Kevin Crowley to Channel 9NEWS of Colorado as Canada celebrated its most recent title. "We had so many goal shutdowns. Anytime you hold a team like that to five goals, it's something special."

Ward's play was special throughout the tournament, not just in the title game. After a 10-7 loss to the U.S. in the teams' opener, he helped spearhead a surge of six straight victories that concluded with redemption against the Americans. Ward played the entire game in four of the seven contests, posting a 63.3 save percentage to rank second in the tournament and a 4.45 goals-against average that ranked fourth. Behind Ward's unyielding work in goal that led to him being named the keeper on the All-World Team, Canada allowed six goals or less in all but two games of its championship run.

"This is what we came here to do, and we did it," Ward said to 9NEWS.

Bellarmine's all-time leader in saves competed for Canada after playing his rookie season in the National Lacrosse League with the Colorado Mammoth, who selected him third overall in the 2013 NLL Entry Draft. He was chosen as one of three finalists for the league's Rookie of the Year award, which will be announced on Sept. 21, after ranking fourth in the NLL in saves (592), fifth in save percentage (.773) and seventh in goals-against average (11.58) while helping the Mammoth secure a playoff berth.

It's been an incredible ride for the Orangeville, Ontario, native, who has gone from an All-American with the Knights to a Rookie of the Year contender with the Mammoth to All-World with Canada. He was beaming with pride after his latest accomplishment of helping his home country claim a world championship.

"That team in there I would go to battle with every day," Ward told 9NEWS. "What they mean to me and what they mean to Canada lacrosse is just unbelievable."

 

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