Two years after she scored the golden goal that won La Salle the Atlantic 10 Championship and booked a ticket into the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in program history, fifth-year senior Maci Bower is back in the postseason hoping to lead her team one last time.
Bower, who led the Explorers offense with 10 goals during the regular season, was supposed to be playing out her final year of college last fall with older sister Madison Bower, who assisted her on that championship-winning goal, but a foot injury last preseason took that opportunity away.
“I was really upset not being able to play one more season with (Madi) because she was the reason I came to La Salle,” Maci said in an interview earlier this season. “But I was very lucky to have another season playing for La Salle because I really missed last year. I live for soccer so not being able to play for Paul (Royal) and my team was really awful.”
The Explorers missed out on the postseason in 2018 after posting a 3-7 record in conference play and an 8-8-1 record overall. Madison led the team in goals with nine and finished her career with 24, a mark Maci was able to top with a goal against UMass on October 24. Their younger sister Morgan Bower, a junior at Saint Joseph’s, has 17 goals of her own in her college career.
“Growing up, we always wanted to outscore each other,” Maci said, talking about her sisters. “We were really competitive with each other playing in the front yard from a really young age.”
The Bowers hail from the small Central Pa. town of Millville that also happens to be home to Tonny Temple and Jackson Temple, brothers who graduated from the Philadelphia Union Academy together and are rookies at NC State and Rutgers this season.
“I think I graduated with 32 kids in my class and that was one of the bigger classes I think so it’s really small,” Maci said of her hometown. “It’s kind of nice having small town kids doing big things in soccer.”
While the Temples both made a name for themselves playing outside the area, the Bower sisters made their mark at the local high school, scoring an astronomical 473 total goals in their college career. Maci alone had 220 goals over her four years of high school.
None of those goals — or the other 26 Maci’s scored in college — have come close to that one she scored in her last Atlantic 10 playoff game.
“When we won (the Atlantic 10 Championship) in ‘17 it was pretty much the best day of my life,” Maci said.
She hopes to repeat that feat to close out her career.
The Atlantic 10 Championship kicks off today for both Maci and Morgan with quarterfinals in Philadelphia and Washington D.C.