By Paul Ryan | 12/5/13 10:45 AM
Note: With the 2014 Collegiate Draft just over a month away on January 10, from the US Lacrosse Convention in Philadelphia, we continue to look at some of the rookies who made the biggest impact in 2013.
Mike Sawyer - Charlotte Hounds - Attack
Selected: 1st Round - 8th overall
Drafted 8th overall in the 2013 MLL Collegiate Draft, Mike Sawyer wasn’t supposed to be a rookie sensation like Rob Pannell. However, his impressive 2013 campaign makes him one of the top rising stars in the league.
Sawyer started strong out of the gate, recording a goal and two assists in a Week 4 loss to the Hamilton Nationals. The three points were the most by a rookie in their first week and earned him Cascade Rookie of the Week honors.
The Loyola grad continued his great play, recording four-straight multi-point games to start the year and a six-game scoring streak to go along with it. In the last game of that streak on June 29, he recorded his first career hat trick at Denver. His performance was deemed good enough for him to make the MLL All-Star game, one of just three rookies to do so.
According to Chesapeake Bayhawks netminder Kip Turner, Mike Sawyer has the toughest shot in the league – and Sawyer proved that this season at All-Star weekend. The rookie fired a 114 MPH laser in the fastest shot competition on July 13, giving him the fastest recorded shot in lacrosse history.
Sawyer went on to finish the year with a point in all but two games. His 14 goals and 20 points were good for fifth on the Hounds, while his six assists put him third on the squad. Despite the impressive regular season, his solid numbers did not stop there.
In his first-ever MLL championship weekend, Sawyer led the Hounds to a first-round upset over the previously undefeated Denver Outlaws. Sawyer scored a team-high four goals – the final goal becoming the eventual game-winner – and added an assist in one of the greatest upsets in Major League Lacrosse history.
In the Championship game the next day, Sawyer was held scoreless in the first three quarters and saw his team down 8-2. Sawyer broke out in the fourth, scoring twice in the final frame and helped cut the deficit to one, but it wasn’t enough as the Hounds fell 10-9 to the Chesapeake Bayhawks.
In spite of the tough loss, the playoff performance proved the Waxham, N.C., native is one of the key players to watch out for in the 2014 season. Sawyer played a large part in the Hounds making their first playoff appearance in franchise history and will need to be a big part next year for the Hounds to have a chance at the Steinfeld Cup.