Finding success in your first season or two in Major League Lacrosse is not always easy, you can just ask a player like Kevin Crowley or Ryan Young, who are both just now fulfilling their potential. As for some rookies, it comes a little easier; just look at New York’s Rob Pannell and Charlotte’s Mike Sawyer.
Both players have earned the title of Cascade Rookie of the Week, Pannell in week five and Sawyer in week four. More impressively, they’ve both been named to the 2013 MLL All-Star Game presented by Moe’s Southwest Grill, alongside Rochester Rattlers’ rookie, John Ranagan. Many expected greatness from Rob Pannell and thus far he is delivering, but for Mike Sawyer, someone that was not talked about all that much, he’s making a big splash into the MLL, and in his hometown, Charlotte, NC.
Sawyer walked onto the field fresh out of Loyola, ready to join a very young Hounds team. Having grown up in North Carolina, he was right at home, attending high school right in town, at Charlotte Catholic. In his MLL debut he earned himself the title of Cascade Rookie of the Week. He posted his first career goal and two assists for a total of three points in the game against the Hamilton Nationals. This was just a sign of things to come throughout the season.
Heading into All-Star weekend, Sawyer boasts 13 points on the season, with at least one point in six of the seven games that he’s played. In a game against the Denver Outlaws, he put up a season high three goals for the hat trick, an impressive feat against some of the best defense in the league. Sawyer, an attackman, has been a part of everything this season, with three groundballs and four assists, he’s proven to be a true team player.
As the Charlotte Hounds first round draft pick, eighth overall, Sawyer had spent four impressive years at Loyola, serving as co-captain in his senior year. After finishing his college lacrosse career, he had accumulated 154 points and 128 goals, and in 2012 was named a Tewaaraton Award finalist. Now the hometown player can also play alongside Loyola teammates, Eric Lusby and midfielder Josh Hawkins.
The young Hounds are still trying to find a rhythm this season, but have shown some great team chemistry, mainly due to several Charlotte natives on the roster, alongside those that have adopted the city as their home. Sawyer has quickly become an integral piece of the 2013 Hounds.
Now, this weekend, Sawyer can share on of his proudest moments as a lacrosse player with his city, as he represents the Hounds right in Charlotte at the 2013 All-Star Game. To watch Sawyer take the field tune into ESPN2 at 7pm ET on Saturday, July 13, as 38 of the best players in lacrosse go head-to-head at American Legion Memorial Stadium.