By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/29/16
Michael Sowers could have looked back at the end of his high school career with a bittersweet taste in his mouth.
His Upper Dublin Cardinals, favored to reach the state finals this spring, were eliminated by Strath Haven, 10-9, in the PIAA quarterfinals despite holding the lead for much of the game. But even though Sowers’ dream of a state title went unfulfilled, he had no regrets.
“I think it’s tough to look back at the Strath Haven loss, but I think it’s cool to look back on the memories,” he said. “I’ll have some of my greatest memories with the games we played and with so many friends.
“It was cool to see the whole (Upper Dublin) community kind of grow with the sport of lacrosse through our team. I loved seeing so many kids come to the games. When we were freshmen you wouldn’t see many coming out to the games and by senior year the little kids were lining the fence wearing jerseys to the games.”
Led by Sowers, Upper Dublin won its first District 1 title and finished 21-3 in 2016. Sowers, who will play at Princeton University, piled up stats that put him in the national limelight through his electrifying playmaking and scoring abilities.
Sowers collected 59 goals and 122 assists this year and earned US Lacrosse All-American honors. His assists gave him a national record of 403 in his career. His 596 points is a state record. He finished with 196 career goals. Sowers’ ability to play-make from X was unprecedented by most observers; he helped Michael Mullen score an area-high 104 goals in 2016 and set a state record with 296 career goals. Sowers’ talents were on display in an international forum this summer when he earned All-World honors in helping Team USA win the FIL U-19 championship in Coquitlam, British Columbia.
For his efforts, Sowers has been named the Phillylacrosse.com Co-Player of the Year (shared with Haverford School senior Dox Aitken).
Sowers is not big – maybe 5-foot-7 – but his speed, quickness, shiftiness and smarts made him a threat at all times.
“I think it’s about my work ethic,” he said. “You always hear people talking about the prototypical player being 6 foot, a jacked guy. I’m not that. For me to keep up with everybody I have got to put in extra time in the weight room. I think that’s helped me over the years since I play with a chip on my shoulder. Having a little more toughness definitely plays to my advantage.”
“I could say a million things about why Michael is a great attackman, but I think the two things that stick out to me are his first step and his vision,” said Mullen, who is now a freshman at Vassar College. “Not many people have the kind of first step like Michael does.
“He can go zero to one hundred percent in his first step and it’s extremely hard for defensemen to match his intensity. Michael’s vision is just incredible. I’ve seen him make passes that I didn’t even think were possible. He’s a great player and a great person and I’m sure he’s going to do great things at Princeton in the coming years.”
Sowers said the most satisfying part of his career was making lacrosse a big deal in the Upper Dublin community. His teams went 75-13 during his four-year career and won four league titles.
“It was awesome not being from a tradition rich program,” said Sowers. “We kind of had to break some barriers down. We looked forward to playing Central League teams. being able to pull off the District 1 championship was awesome, not only for us for the guys on the other side of the river and the Suburban One League especially.”
Sowers also enjoyed playing on a team coached by his father, David Sowers – who was the top assistant his first three years at Upper Dublin after becoming and the head coach in 2016.
“My dad always wanted me to play the game the right way,” said Sowers. “Since I could walk I grew up on his sideline watching him coach (formerly at Hatboro-Horsham) and this year was no different. I think he knows when I know I made a mistake.”
Sowers was not only a great passer and scorer, he was a strong leader.
“This year I wanted to be that ‘guy’ – when we were in a bit of a hole and things weren’t going right, I tried to be that guy people could turn to to provide that spark plug,” he said.
Mullen said that Sowers excelled at making everyone successful.
“Michael makes everyone around him better,” he said. “He’s so unselfish with the ball and when you have a player like that then everyone around him is going to benefit. I’ve never played with anyone who can dish the ball out the way he does and I just think that goes to show how he’s all about the team.”
Tags: Upper Dublin