Photo courtesy of Duke athletics
The quest for college soccer's top individual award has been narrowed to three competitors.
Duke's Andrew Wenger, North Carolina's Billy Schuler and Creighton's Ethan Finlay were named finalists for the Hermann Trophy, emerging from a list of 15 semifinalists that was released earlier in the week. The finalists were selected from a voting panel of Division I coaches.
Wenger (the No. 1 prospect on Fox Soccer's latest Big Board), who shifted up top for the Blue Devils this year despite projecting as a defender or defensive midfielder on the professional level, earned ACC Offensive Player of the Year honors after scoring 17 goals for the Blue Devils.
Schuler and Finlay, both already invited to the MLS Combine, could settle their duel face-to-face if each player's team reaches Sunday's NCAA final. Schuler (No. 4 on the Fox Soccer Big Board) scored 15 goals to pace the Tar Heels' attack, while Finlay tallied 13 times to do the same for the Bluejays.
Whichever player wins the trophy will snap Akron's streak of two straight winners after Teal Bunbury and Darlington Nagbe took home the honors in each of the last two seasons. The winner will be crowned on Jan. 6 at the Missouri Athletic Club.
On the women's side, Stanford's Teresa Noyola and Lindsay Taylor and Penn State's Maya Hayes were named finalists. Like Akron's men, Stanford's women has boasted the winner the past two years, with U.S. women's national team player Kelly O'Hara and Christen Press winning the award.
Who do you think should win the awards? Think anybody else belonged among the final three candidates for the men and women?
Share your thoughts below.