In three out of the last four seasons we’ve seen a player come out of relative obscurity to steal the college lacrosse spotlight for that particular year. In 2016, Pat Spencer exploded onto the scene as a freshman and became the story of the year. In 2018, Jeff Teat had a magnificent season and surprised many people when he finished as a top three player in the country in points/game. In 2019, Grant Ament smashed all expectations after sitting out 2018 to lead the country in points/game and took up much of the oxygen in what was supposed to be Pat Spencer’s farewell tour. It looks like we might have a similar situation this year with Michael Sowers of Princeton.
To be fair, it’s not like Sowers came into 2020 as some freshman with no history of success or a lightly regarded upperclassmen. Sowers finished 2019 with 90 points and was one of the top five offensive players in the country. But it can’t be denied that Grant Ament was expected by many to be the undisputed best player in the country this year. Indeed, if in early January I told you that Michael Sowers would be leading the country with 12.5 points/game and would essentially shove Grant Ament off of the college lacrosse front page by Week 3, I’d probably be ignored or lightly mocked. Nevertheless, here we are, February 19, 2020 and Michael Sowers appears to be the best player in the country.
Want to see what 14 points in one game look like? Here are all 14 of Michael Sowers' points against Colgate. pic.twitter.com/Q1XAVB9j8u— Princeton Lacrosse (@TigerLacrosse) February 19, 2020
Now, it’s not like Grant Ament has totally fallen off. Far from it, he’s fourth in the country in points/game (8.3) and would probably be a bit higher on the list had he played all four quarters of Penn State’s first three games. However, it can’t be denied that Michael Sowers has kicked in the door in 2020 and stolen a lot of the juice that Ament (rightfully) earned after his record breaking 2019 season. I’m not saying Ament won’t respond in kind to retake the spotlight, but for right now, Sowers is the story of 2020.
While both Ament & Sowers are unique in their own ways, they do have a lot of similarities. Both are listed at 5’9. They both have amazing footwork. Both are lightning fast. Additionally, both make everyone around them better. Indeed, Sowers leads the country with 18 assists and Ament is right behind him with 17. Obviously, Sowers has played in one less game than Ament, but it’s not like Grant won’t have his share by the end of the season. Ament did break the NCAA record for assists last year with 96 and also tied the NCAA Tournament record in assists with 18 in 2019. I am sure Grant will be near the top of the leaderboard in assists when it is all said and done.
2019 #NCAALAX Statistical Champions @PennStateMLAX junior Grant Ament led the nation with 1️⃣2️⃣6️⃣ points in the 2019 season - averaging 7.41 points per game!! pic.twitter.com/iF70HqAG8h— NCAA Lacrosse (@NCAALAX) June 25, 2019
There’s still a lot games to play in the season and who knows if Sowers will continue his blazing pace. Additionally, Princeton’s competition will get better as the season progress. The Tigers play the defending champs this weekend when they travel down to Charlottesville to take on Virginia. The UVA match-up begins a five-week stretch of tough games for the Tigers. After this weekend Princeton will then take on Johns Hopkins, Rutgers, Penn, & Yale. But if Sowers can drop 12+ points/game in those five contests we might as well give him the Tewaaraton Award by the end of March.
I don’t think Sowers will be able to keep up that absurd pace for an entire year, but I also didn’t think that Grant Ament would be relegated to Sowers’ understudy in the first few weeks of the season either. The one thing I do know is that it looks like we are on the cusp of a historic season between two elite players battling for the college lacrosse limelight and that we should all be extremely grateful that we get to watch this drama play out.
Let us know who your weapon of choice is in our poll below or in the comments section. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with either of them.
Choose your weapon.— Eri_Barrister (@Eri_Barrister) February 19, 2020