Merrimack’s Towler, Bassett Named USILA Midfielder and Defender of the Year
After earning All-America First Team honors earlier this week, senior midfielder Tim Towler (Topsfield, Mass.) and junior defender James Bassett (Getzville, N.Y.) added to their long compilation of postseason accolades after being named 2017 United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) positional players of the year, as announced Friday.
Both student-athletes have already earned their share of recognition over the past month; both were Northeast-10 All-Conference selections before earning New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) All-New England accolades, as well. Finally, after their All-America recognition that was announced just days ago, both garnered UILSA Player of the Year status at their respective positions for the first time in their career. They become the first two to do so since 2016 graduate and two-time all-American Scott Corcoran ’16 did so last year as the USILA Longstick Midfielder of the Year.
After missing all of last season due to injury, Towler returned to the lineup and quickly reestablished his reputation as one of the country’s top midfielders en route to being named the Lt. j.g. Donald MacLaughlin, Jr. Award for the Outstanding Co-Midfielder of the Year award, an honor he shared with Liemstone’s Colton Watkinson.
Towler earned his third career All-America honor earlier this week, which was his first appearance on the first team unit. The former USILA Third Team and Honorable Mention All-American has put together his best offensive campaign to date with 53 points (38g, 15a) and 26 ground balls on the way to being named the NE10 and New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) Player of the Year. The Topsfield, Massachusetts, native ranks third nationally in man-up goals (9) and is the team’s top-scoring midfielder.
On the back end, Bassett has enjoyed arguably the finest breakthrough campaign for any non-rookie Warrior, and in doing so he was named the winner of the William C. Schmeisser Award for Outstanding Defensive Player.
In addition to his earning NE10 Defensive Player of the Year honors, Bassett has hoarded up a number of first-time postseason accolades over the last few weeks. He earned his first-ever All-America honor at the first team unit after also doing so on the all-region and all-conference ledgers. Bassett has been a driving force among a defensive corps that ranks eighth nationally in goals allowed per game (7.61). The Getzville, New York, native has caused 18 turnovers – good for second-most on the team – while collecting 52 ground balls, ranking third on the team in that category.
Towler, Bassett and the rest of the Warriors now turn their sights to the national championship game, where they will meet last year’s runner-up, top-ranked Limestone College, for a shot at the program’s first national title on the line this Sunday. Game time from Gillette Stadium is set for 2 p.m.