Univest Featured Athlete (Wk. 4-26-18)

SuburbanOneSports.com recognizes a male and female featured athlete each week. The awards, sponsored by Univest, are given to seniors of good character who are students in good standing that have made significant contributions to their teams. Selections are based on nominations received from coaches, athletic directors and administrators.

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Female Athlete

Tori Dowd, according to her coach, is first and foremost concerned about points. But not in the usual sense. “She’s the kind of kid that comes out of a game and asks how many points the player she’s guarding scored, and that just says so much about the kind of player she is,” Souderton coach Lynn Carroll said of her senior point guard. “What a gift for a coach. What she does on the defensive end is remarkable. For 32 minutes, she never takes a second off. Ever. I don’t know how she does it night in and night out. She practices that way, and not many kids do that. She is just relentless. Her on-the-ball defense is as good as I’ve seen in a very long time. She has foot speed and she does have the physical tools to defend that way, but most of it is just determination.”

A four-year varsity starter at point guard, Dowd was a key player in the Indians’ historic run to the SOL Continental Conference championship, the SOL Tournament title, the District One 6A crown and a trip to the PIAA 6A state semifinals. The senior captain was more than happy to let her teammates bask in the spotlight while she did all the little things that made the Indians so successful, like protecting the basketball, setting up her teammates and, of course, playing defense. “I’ve just always loved defense,” Dowd said. “You can’t always control how good your shots are, but you can control how much effort you put in on defense. There’s always going to be people who are bigger, faster, more experienced and better than you, but you have to work hard and play to the best of your ability.”

And no one, according to Carroll, works harder or plays harder than Dowd, who was also a four-year starter for the soccer team. “I’ve had this conversation with a lot of kids over the last four years,” the Indians’ coach said. “If we don’t think they’re working hard enough, I can say, ‘Are you working as hard as Tori?’ Most likely the answer is no, no matter who you are. For me as a coach, I can say, ‘Well, then you’re not working hard enough.’ It’s just a gift to have someone like that.”

Dowd will continue her basketball career at Muhlenberg College where she will major in biology with her sights set on a career as a physician’s assistant. An excellent student, Dowd is a member of the National Honor Society. She is also part of the LINK Crew and is a member of the Athletic Leadership Council. She also is involved with Unified Track. “She’s a fun kid,” Carroll said. “A lot of what she does on the basketball court really speaks to the kind of person she is. It’s part of what made this season ending so tough. Yes, it was tough that we didn’t play for a state championship. That was very disappointing, but it’s just as disappointing that we’re not coaching these kids anymore, and Tori is a big part of that.”

To read Dowd’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/tori-dowd-0077768

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete

To understand the success of the 2018 Bensalem baseball team – especially its pitching staff, you have to trace things all the way back to Little League, according to one of its standout starters, senior Stephen Aldrich. Aldrich, fellow senior Nick Fossile and juniors Nick Dean and Dominic Grady, came up through the ranks together as kids, and now they are doing special things with their pitching arms for the best Owls baseball season in recent memory. “We all get along great,” Aldrich said. “Our relationship with our whole team is that way, but especially the pitching staff. We all played for the same Little League team, so we’re best friends. We’ve spent so much time together, so we’re kind of bonded to each other.”

Bensalem head coach Harry Daut has led the program for the past five years but has been around the game of baseball all of his life. He pitched for the Owls and Temple University, and now, at 54 years old, has seen a lot of talented players. He couldn’t say enough complimentary things about Aldrich, both on the baseball field and away from it. “I’ve been fortunate to have Steve since his ninth grade year, and I’m seen him come from this little kid to a high character young man,” Daut said. “He’s humble and doesn’t say a whole lot, but he’s got a quiet confidence about him. There’s no doubt that he’s our team leader. The younger kids, they see how he acts with his calm demeanor, and they grab ahold of that and come to the field and try to act the same way he does. On the mound, he’s a power guy with a really good fastball and curveball. There’s no doubt he’s a talented pitcher. He’s fearless and loves to compete.”

Even though he doesn’t say much and prefers to let his pitching do the talking, Aldrich recognizes his role as a senior leader on a Bensalem team with lofty postseason expectations. “I don’t like yelling or anything like that when I go out and play, but I still want to be a good leader and help out the younger kids,” Aldrich said. “I want them to see how it’s done and how to work hard so that the program can be good for years in the future after I graduate.” Aldrich is committed to play his college baseball at Monmouth University. He plans on studying business. Daut has no doubts Aldrich will succeed at the next level. “He’s still relatively young at 17 and is still maturing as a player,” the Owls’ coach said. “Steve is a humble, well-rounded kid with high character and I’m just so happy for him.”

Aldrich is very excited about his future, but he and the Bensalem Owls have unfinished business to take care of before he packs his bags and heads to the shore in the fall. “As excited as I am, I will miss how close all of our teams have been,” Aldrich said. “Especially how quick we got so close. I’ll miss every practice, all the coaches and all of my teammates, just going out there and competing with my friends. I’ll especially miss the Florida trips we took as a team, because it brought out the best in all of us.

To read Aldrich’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/stephen-aldrich-0077778