At long last, we’ve reached our finals for the best NCAA lacrosse pairs of the decade. More than 30 programs were considered here, but in the end, there can only be one champion. Only one duo shall reign supreme.
After victories in the semifinals, our top-two seeds have survived upset and now find themselves exactly where we thought they would be. Pour one out for Notre Dame and Penn State, our beautiful fallen soldiers who made miraculous runs to the semis despite double-digit seeds.
In the end, though, the people have agreed with us on one (and maybe only one) thing: the two best contenders for the best duo of the decade (2010-2019) are Albany (Lyle Thompson and Connor Fields) and Princeton (Tom Schreiber and Zach Currier).
Before we get to the voting, we thought we’d dive a little deeper than we had previously and take a good, hard look at our two remaining contestants. Due to the higher seed, Albany gets to go first.
Best NCAA Lacrosse Pairs of the Decade – Final
Albany Great Danes (No. 1 seed)
Thompson, at only 28 years old, is already almost certainly on the majority of Lacrosse Mount Rushmores. While we can quibble about who the GOAT is, Lyle is certainly in the conversation, and he’s got potentially a decade or more left in his career, assuming he stays healthy. As it stands today, he’s already the only men’s player to ever win two Tewaaraton trophies, splitting the 2014 award with his brother, Miles. Add another two Turnbull Awards to that as the nation’s top attackman, and throw in the all-time points records while you’re at it. He also finished college as the all-time assists leader, though Pat Spencer would go on to surpass him.
And that’s all before graduation. Lyle instantly became the No. 1 overall pick in both the MLL and NLL and was damn near instantly an All-Star in both. He was All-Rookie in the NLL. In just his second NLL season, he won both the League MVP and Championship MVP, leading the Swarm to a title in the process. He’s since made All-Pro twice (2nd in 2018, 1st in 2019) and two Sportsmanship Awards off the field. Just to top that off, he’s got two bronze medals and a silver for the Iroquois.
Lyle is one of the three best lacrosse players in the world right now, at least in the eyes of most. He’s also one of the most beloved players in the game, both on the field and off it. He’s amazing indoors. He’s amazing outdoors. I’ve never seen anyone dominate anything more casually than Lyle Thompson playing at LASNAI 2018. He’d be hard to beat alone.
But Thompson isn’t alone, and that’s why he could be part of the best NCAA lacrosse pair of the last 10 years.
Fields, who was a consensus five-star recruit after setting a New York state record for goals, chose Albany specifically to play with Lyle Thompson. The pairing was absolutely worth the price of entry. In their one year together, they exploded offensively, leading an insanely fun Great Danes team to a heartbreaking OT loss to Notre Dame in the quarterfinals. Fields scored in every single game in his year with Lyle, ending up with an NCAA freshman record 66 goals, good for second in the country in goals-per-game.
That was in year one. By the time Fields left Albany, he was second in career points for NCAA DI lacrosse (he’d be passed by Pat Spencer). He was an All-American every year (HM, 3rd, 1st, 1st) despite playing his final season with a torn ACL, sprained MCL, and damaged meniscus. As a senior, even with the injuries, Fields helped lead Albany to its first-ever Memorial Day Weekend appearance and, though the Danes lost to Yale, he was named to the All-Tournament team. He never won a Tewaaraton, but he was nominated three times.
Since graduating, Fields was drafted No. 3 overall in the MLL, though he’d play just three games before moving to the PLL. In his first full pro season outdoors, he finished as the MVP runner-up to Matt Rambo, and Chaos became the top seed before going down in the semis. He finished second in goals and was named an All-Pro. His second season didn’t go as planned, but he’s still a great player. He’s been just as good indoors, finishing as runner-up for the Rookie of the Year in his first full NLL season after posting 44 points. At only 25 years old, Fields is one of the brightest young stars in lacrosse and will probably continue to build on what is already a fantastic legacy.
Princeton Tigers (No. 2 seed)
Widely considered the best midfielder in the world right now, Tom Schreiber has been in the conversation as one of the best field players of this generation for a long time. As a freshman for the Tigers, he finished as the Ivy League Rookie of the Year, 1st-Team All-Ivy, Third-Team All-American, and the first Princeton freshman to ever lead the team in goals and assists. He only got better from there. In four years, he racked up four All-Americans (3rd, 1st, 1st, 1st), two Midfielder of the Year Awards, and two Tewaaraton nominations.
He’s the only Ivy League midfielder ever with 100 career goals and 90 career assists. He’s Princeton’s all-time leader amongst midfielders in goals, assists, and points. The man was unreal. Then, he went pro and got even better.
He was drafted No. 1 overall by the Ohio Machine, for whom he won a title in 2017 after coming up short in 2016. Both years, he was named MLL MVP. After moving to the PLL, he was awarded Midfielder of the Year in 2019 and 2020, plus was an MVP finalist in 2019.
Indoors, Schreiber is arguably the best American player in the NLL and won Rookie of the Year during his 2017 season. Despite being a UDFA, Schreiber has become a good indoor player, helping the Toronto Rock offensively. In only 57 games in the NLL, he’s already racked up 293 points. He’s also won a gold medal with the USA.
Schreiber is probably the best midfielder in the world. He’s probably the best American box runner. There’s little this guy can’t do.
Literally the first thing that comes up when you google his name is a headline that reads “After Winning 5 Titles in 407 Days, Zach Currier Seeks New Challenge in PLL.” That explains a lot about what Currier does well: everything. He’s in the discussion for the best all-around player in the world right now. There aren’t really holes in his game.
While at Princeton, Currier was All-Ivy three times and All-American twice, including first-team as a senior. What did he do to earn it? Quite literally everything. Currier finished the 2017 college season with 24 goals, 34 assists, 58 points, 130 GBs, a team-high 21 caused turnovers and a 56.4 winning percentage on his 202 face-offs. He’s 10th all-time in assists at Princeton, 26th in points (though fourth among middies). He’s just a pure winner. He’s already won two Mann Cup titles for the Peterborough Lakers, an MLL title for the Denver Outlaws, a World Indoor Lacrosse Championship with Team Canada and an NLL title with the Calgary Roughnecks.
He’s been an All-World player. He’s been an All-Pro, an MVP nominee, an NLL Transition Player of the Year nominee, and a top-six pick three times (No. 1 in the PLL Expansion Draft, No. 3 in the NLL Draft, No. 6 in the MLL Draft). He’s an amazing middie, an amazing transition player, a top flight scorer and defender, and even an above-average face-off man.
So, which duo is the best NCAA lacrosse pair: the two elite scorers who have more combined points than any duo in NCAA history, or the do-it-all midfield tandem that’s equally equipped to take you on indoors or outdoors? Well, that’s for you to decide. Make your voices heard on Twitter!