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Hamburg lacrosse's Jill Ford heads to Niagara team

It almost seems like when opponents place Hamburg on their schedules, they are not just looking to see how competitive their club can be with one of the top programs in the area.

With a player of Jill Ford’s caliber running up and down the field for the Lady Bulldogs, coaches and players often compliment her talents and cannot help but to be awed and impressed.

“When we play other coaches, they like playing against us because they like to see her play,” said Katy Ryan, the girls lacrosse coach at Hamburg. She’s so dynamic. From when I had her as a freshman she just totally came on to the lacrosse scene. She’s so quick, so fluid with her stick skills and she’s just so fun to watch.”

Ford’s graduation this June will mark the end of a career alongside Ryan, who has been the head coach since Ford came on as a freshman.

“It’s been a pleasure coaching a kid like that,” said Ryan. “She’s so positive, she wants to get better and everyone loves her and wants to play with her. You want to play with her because she’s so good.”

Ford has a team-high in goals with 30 through nine games this spring, including eight assists as she has taken on more responsibilities with her new role during her senior season.

“Her leadership has helped her take on a new role this year, which is the all-over-the-field player maker,” said Ryan. “She’s making the assists and making plays not only attacking, but on the defensive end with the caused turnovers and winning the draws.”

What has seemed to be a four-year Jill Ford Tour is almost over, as the senior midfielder straps up for her last games with Hamburg this spring before heading to Niagara University to continue her lacrosse career.

The three-sport athlete excelled at field hockey and basketball during her high school career. But it was the spring that she could not wait for the most.

“It’s sad that I’m leaving everyone. I’ve played with these players for four years now,” said Ford. “We knew this was going to be a big season. Coach put in a lot of tough games to get us ready for the playoffs.”

Hamburg currently holds a 7-2 record overall. The Lady Bulldogs only losses came against Lancaster and Canandaigua Academy by a total of three goals. Not bad for a Class B team that moved up to Class A, along with West Seneca East, for the regular season. Both teams will return to Class B for the postseason.

But according to Ford, it does not matter how good her team is playing at this point of the season.

“This is the part where we don’t want to be at our best right now,” said Ford. “We want to wait until playoffs to play at that high of a level. But we’re definitely getting better everyday.”

Last season, Ford helped the Bulldogs win the Class B sectional championship before falling to Brighton (Section V) in the regional title game.

“I definitely want to go further than last year,” said the Niagara-bound Ford. “I want to see what type of competition is out there and see how far we can go.”

Ford will join forces once again with Taylor Wolf at NU in the fall. The two helped the Bulldogs to their run to the regional championship last spring.

As one of Ford’s biggest fans, Ryan cannot only wait to see how Ford continues to develop her skills on the Division I level, but she is excited to see how many more people she will continue to captivate, as well.

“I’m just excited for the opponents who get to watch her, as well,” said Ryan. “Just to see how talented and hardworking of a kid she is. I don’t think you see talent like that very often, a natural talent like that. I think lacrosse on the D-I scene will appreciate how good she really is.”


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