As the girls lacrosse season heads into its final two weeks, the traditional powers have several major matchups.
They don’t get much bigger than today’s showdown between visiting Lancaster and Frontier at 4:45.
The teams have met in the last two Section VI Class A championship games – Frontier ended Lancaster’s six-year championship run in 2011 before Lancaster exacted revenge last season. In the teams’ first matchup this year, Lancaster won, 7-6, on April 25.
“This will be one of our hardest games of the season,” said Lancaster coach Julie Buccieri. “Both teams so badly want to prove they are the better team. Frontier has great athletes, a strong defense and are well-coached. We do not ever take them lightly and will hopefully play a great game and come out on top.”
Lancaster can be regarded as the top team in the area after the win over Frontier as well as a 17-16 overtime win over defending Class B champion Hamburg on April 18.
Also, Lancaster did very well this season against Section V competition. The team has regularly scheduled teams from the stronger Rochester area in an attempt to become more competitive. Only once has a Section VI team beat a Section V champion to advance to the state final four (Lancaster in 2008).
Last year, Lancaster started the season 0-3 against Section V teams but this year it has won three of the four it played against Rochester-area opposition, beating Webster Schroeder (14-12) and Mercy (11-6) at home, losing at Webster Thomas (18-12) in early-season games and beating Fairport (13-10) at home last Friday.
“We not only wanted to challenge ourselves to play those teams again this year but to get a win or two,” said Buccieri. “All four were great games that challenged us and made us stronger individually and as a team. We were able to defeat three out of four and we were really pumped about that, but we have much bigger goals than beating them in the regular season.
“We fully understand that every team wants the chance to beat us and that the journey will be far from easy for us. Section VI’s Class A is getting stronger every year and I hope that this is the year one of us can make it past Section V to advance to the state final four.”
Lancaster has been led by its strong midfield, which includes junior Rachel Heidenreich, sophomore Grace Gabriel and junior Allie Stewart. Back in goal is senior goalie Karli Pawlak, who had a game-saving stop in the final seconds against Frontier in last year’s final.
Here’s a look at Western New York’s top matchups as the season winds down.
Today: In addition to Lancaster and Frontier going at it, West Seneca East is at Williamsville North at 4:45 in a key Class B contest.
Thursday: A tremendous Southtowns showdown has Frontier (10-1) at Hamburg (11-1 after Monday’s 18-7 win over Nichols) at Howe Field at 7 p.m. The only loss for each was by one goal to Lancaster. Hamburg also owns a win over Auburn of Section III (Syracuse area) and is coming off an impressive 14-4 win over West Seneca East (7-4) while Frontier topped Nichols earlier this season.
Also Thursday is a matchup of two more teams which usually are playing come time for the Section VI championship tripleheader as Lancaster heads to Lake Shore at 4:45. Lake Shore lost in last year’s B final and won in 2011, and its lone loss was an 8-6 season-opening defeat to Frontier.
Saturday: Lancaster hosts Amherst, which has won eight straight sectional titles. The Tigers are 7-5, with two overtime losses to Lake Shore.
May 15: Lancaster closes the season by hosting Nichols at 4:45 p.m. The Vikings have played their usual competitive schedule against local teams (it has games with Orchard Park and Clarence remaining) along with its Midwest Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association schedule.
May 17: In a great nonleague game at 4:30, Frontier hosts Mount St. Mary, which has ruled the Monsignor Martin Association, winning that league’s title in all eight years of its existence. The Thunder is again ruling the MMA this year in an 8-0 start. Its closest game was a 10-9 win over Sacred Heart, which it plays on Wednesday.
May 17-19: Nichols at Midwest Schoolgirls Association Tournament, Western Reserve (Ohio)
May 21: Monsignor Martin semifinals at Nichols (4 and 5:30 p.m.); Section VI quarterfinals
May 23: Monsignor Martin championship at Nichols (4:30 p.m.); Section VI semifinals
May 29: Section VI championships at All High Stadium (Class A-3:30, B-5:30, C-8 p.m.)
June 1: Far West Regionals at Section V site TBA: (Class A-3:30, B-6, C-8 p.m.)
June 7-8: State final four at Cortland State
Class A: 1, CHSAA-St. Anthony (L.I.); 20, Lancaster. Honorable mention: Clarence, Frontier.
Class B: 1, VII-Garden City; 13, Hamburg. HM: West Seneca East.
Class C: 1, XI-Mount Sinai. HM: Amherst, Lake Shore.