By Bradley Schlegel
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/25/16
Michael Sowers collected one goal and seven assists to lead Upper Dublin to a 10-9 victory over Spring-Ford in the Katie Samson Foundation Festival Saturday at Radnor High School.
The win kept the third-ranked Cardinals undefeated at 10-0 while the No. 5 Rams (11-1) suffered their first loss. The two teams remain 1-2 in the LaxPower Rankings that will decide District 1 seeds.
The game was much-anticipated by both squads, who have been dominating their league foes. The Cards have won every game this year by 12 or more goals and Spring-Ford’s closest game was a four-goal win.
“Spring-Ford is a great team,” said Sowers, an All-American and U-19 Team member who is headed to Princeton. “We knew they were going to play hard, so we wanted to come out and execute.
“We circled this game on our calendar. We only get four of these (non-league games).”
The Rams took a 7-6 lead into the final period on a goal by Jake Hvazda (three goals), but Sowers tied it early in the fourth period on an EMO and then set up consecutive goals by Nick Vernacchio and Max Winebrake (three goals).
Spring-Ford pulled within 9-8 on a goal by Ryan Rosenblum, but Sowers fed Evan Scott for a 10-8 lead with 3:30 to play. The Rams made it close with a Hvazda goal in the final 30 seconds, but defenseman Jack Rapine – doubling as a face-off specialist – won the draw and the Cards ran out the clock.
“We knew this would be a District 1 heavyweight battle,” Rams head coach Kevin Donnelly said.
Michael Mullen also had three goals for the Cardinals while Rapine and Nick Vernacchio each added a goal and an assist.
“We finally played a competitive game,” Upper Dublin coach David Sowers said. “Spring-Ford is very well coached. We knew it was going to be a slugfest.”
Matt Dellacroce registered two goals and an assist for the Rams. Kyle Pettine – filling in for starting goalkeeper Chris Morgan – recorded 18 saves in a strong performance.
“Upper Dublin has some good cutters,” said Donnelly, whose team lost face-off specialist Justin Schwenk to a knee injury early in the game. “Our defense let a couple get loose too often.”
Recently it was reported that Michael Sowers has set the all-time state record for career assists with over 350.
“Since he was five years old, Michael has been taught to pass the ball to the open man,” coach Sowers said of his son. “And if the open man drops the ball, to keep passing it again, because eventually that player would make the catch. He understands that it’s not about who scores the goals, but who wins the game.”
Said Michael Sowers: “I always try to play the game the right way.”
Upper Dublin 10, Spring-Ford 9
Spring-Ford 2-1-4-2- 9
Upper Dublin 0-3-3-4 – 10
Tate Pijanowski 1g
Ray Orcutt 1 a
Danny Cassidy 1g, 2a
Matt Dellacroce 2g, 2a
Ryan Rosenblum 1g
Jared Marenger 1a
Jake Hvazda 3g
Kyle Pettine 18 saves
Michael Sowers 1g, 7a
Max Winebrake 3g
Michael Mullen 3g
Jack Rapine 1g
Nick Vernacchio 1g
Evan Scott `1g
Dillon Lojeski 9 saves