Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 32
 
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
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(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)

ROCKY MOUNTAIN WAY: Scott Sowanick, left, heads up the field this past April as he helped the Princeton men's lacrosse team to a 12-8 win over Syracuse. The speedy midfielder, who graduated from Princeton this past June, is currently playing for the Denver Outlaws in the Major League Lacrosse (MLL). Sowanick has scored five points in his six appearances for the Outlaws who have clinched a spot in the upcoming MLL playoffs.

Former PU Star Sowanick Using Toughness in Making Impact for MLL's Denver Outlaws

Bill Alden

Scott Sowanick will get a major dose of the real world this week when he heads to Wall Street to start working with Merrill Lynch.

But hitting lower Manhattan won't be the first taste of the working world for the recent Princeton University graduate and former Tiger lacrosse All-American.

Weeks after his June graduation from Princeton with a degree in history, the 5'11, 180-pound midfielder took the field for the Denver Outlaws in the Major League Lacrosse (MLL).

For Sowanick, the transition to the freewheeling MLL has gone smoothly. The speedy Sowanick has scored five points in his six appearances for the Outlaws who have clinched a spot in the upcoming MLL playoffs.

"In college you are playing for the coaches and the school," said Sowanick, who was picked in the third round of the MLL draft by the Outlaws.

"Here the coaches play a role but it's the guys on the field who determine things. Things are more relaxed. I'm used to being more serious when I go on the field so this is a little different for me."

Getting to the Outlaws games has taken a serious effort on Sowanick's part since he has been commuting to Denver from his family's home in the Washington D.C. area.

"I have been flying to the game site on Fridays to get there for our practice Friday night," explained Sowanick. "We have a shoot-around early on Saturday and then have the games on Saturday night."

Although there are several MLL franchises on the east coast, Sowanick was happy to be chosen by Denver in the MLL draft.

"I was excited," said Sowanick, noting that fellow PU grads Josh Sims and Trevor Tierney are stars on the Outlaws.

"Coach T [Tierney] is close to the staff there because of Trevor. I heard from other players that Denver is the best team to play for because they treat their players so well."

A key fringe benefit for Sowanick is getting the chance to play with Sims, one of the great midfielders in the history of the game.

"I've never told Josh this but I've worshipped the guy growing up," said Sowanick with a laugh.

"It's gratifying getting the chance to play with guys like that. It is also gratifying to play against guys who you have admired over the years."

Sowanick has enjoyed playing in the fast-paced world of the MLL, which features a two-point goal line 16 yards from each goal and a 60-second shot clock.

"In college, you had set lines," said Sowanick, who scored 121 points in his Princeton career on 59 goals and 62 assists.

"Here we have five offensive middies and they run us in continuously based on who is the freshest. When two come off, two come in. Before my first game, the coaches told me they were not expecting me to score six goals a game. They were counting on me to be a workhorse for the team. I'm having a blast."

In Sowanick's view, his experience at Princeton helped prepare him well for the MLL despite the fact that the Tigers are known for their deliberate approach to the game.

"I think when you ask people they think that going from Princeton to the MLL doesn't translate well," said Sowanick. "Princeton teams are known for slowing it down but you learn a discipline. I learned to keep a level head on the field. Here you can be six or seven goals and still come back."

This year's Princeton team found it tough to come through in the close games as it went 10-4 with three of those losses coming by one goal including a 9-8 overtime loss to Georgetown in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

"It was really tough," said Sowanick, a third-team All-American selection as a senior in a season which saw him score 26 points on 11 goals and 15 assists. "We got into a few overtime games and thinks didn't work out."

While the Tigers didn't go as far as Sowanick would've hoped, there were still some memorable moments along the way.

"My major highlight was the Syracuse game," said Sowanick, who pointed to the 2004 NCAA Final Four and the 2007 Face-Off Classic as two other high points of his PU career.

"I didn't get a goal or an assist but we played our best game [a 12-8 win for Princeton]. It's not often you can dominate Syracuse in every phase of the game. The energy was flowing, everything came together."

In the final analysis, Sowanick believes that the challenges he faced at Princeton have steeled him for the ups and downs of the working world.

"Princeton is not the easiest place to be a Division I lacrosse player," said Sowanick. "It's impossible to coast through with the academic rigors. You're fighting battles in the classroom everyday and then you go on the field and fight there. If you're not mentally tough, you will crumble. I've definitely gotten tougher."

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