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High School Girls Lacrosse: Hamburg with show of strength for WNY girls lacrosse

Gina Abalone drives to the net for an opportunity in close on the Auburn goalkeeper in Hamburg’s 14-7 win over the Syracuse-area squad on Saturday. It was the first time the teams met. (Photo by Michael J. Petro)
Frontier defeats Lake Shore  in showdown

While Hamburg is attempting to reach out to teams from out of the area in trying to schedule some of the most challenging competition, the same can now be said for its opponents in and out of Western New York seeking out similar type games.

The ultimate compliment to pay a program is that opponents think they’ll in fact be better in the long run for playing a team the caliber of a Hamburg.

So while welcoming in Auburn from the Syracuse-area was an opportunity for Hamburg, it felt the same way for its opponent Saturday (April 13) at Howe Field.

“We’re excited to come over and play this competition because it’s always good to play against some of the best,” said first-year Auburn head coach Bill Dean, even as his team plays in a hotbed for the sport.

Auburn left Hamburg just as impressed as when it arrived. After allowing Auburn to score three straight goals to tie the game at four apiece, Hamburg ran away with a 14-7 victory in the teams’ first meeting.

“We never played a team from Syracuse; we’ve only played a few from Rochester before, and they’re a good team from there. Any team from Syracuse is probably going to be a good team,” said Hamburg head coach Katy Ryan, who played a pair of Section V teams to start last season.

“I think we pulled together and rose to the occasion,” she added. “We knew what we were up against and we came ready to play.”

When Auburn tied the game with 8:39 left in the first half, it was senior standout Taylor Wolf who helped Hamburg take back control of the contest. The Niagara University-bound attacker scored two of her game-high six goals during a four-goal spurt for Hamburg to end the first half.

The Bulldogs then would score the next six of seven goals to start the second half and put the game away. Also leading the offense was Jill Ford, whose three-goal performance, included a pair of nifty one-timers. Fellow junior Kaley Reardon added two goals in the win.

“They’re a solid team. They have a couple of real studs — I know Wolf is a very strong player who moves the ball well,” said Dean, who ironically also has a Niagara University-bound player in midfielder Sarah Fuller. Ryan noted the two met for the first time at the game.

“Hamburg passes and catches very well, they’re very disciplined, they’re defense is very tough,” he added. “I think they’ve been sectional champs before so they’re a team that plays well together.”

The game was first organized when Ryan made a call to Auburn’s new varsity coach and originally she wanted to bring her team to the Syracuse-area. Dean said for scheduling reasons it worked out best that his team did the traveling this year with hopes that Hamburg can reciprocate next season.

Auburn made a weekend out of it, seeing a University of Rochester game against Geneseo and touring the U of R campus the night before Saturday’s game on its way up to Hamburg. They ate dinner and stayed overnight locally on Friday.

Although Hamburg improved to 3-0 on the season, Ryan was eager to see if her team could bounce back after what she felt was a sub-par performance in a 10-7 win over Class B division foe West Seneca East two days prior. She was happy with what she saw.

“The West Seneca East game was sloppy and up and down, so for us to turn it around and play as well as we did is nice to see,” Ryan said. “The hustle was great. I think we wound up having like 13 caused turnovers which is huge. Our attack was flowing and clicking. Against East, I think we were still trying to figure each other out on defense.”

Also for Hamburg, senior Gina Abalone and freshman Claire Hermann added goals, while senior goalie Lauryn Courteau earned the win in net. The Hamburg defense did not allow any Auburn player to hit the back of the net more than once.

On Thursday, April 18, there will be more formidable out of league competition for Hamburg, but this time it comes from a team closer to home. The Bulldogs will host Western New York’s premier program in Lancaster, a sectional champion in seven of the past eight seasons.

Lancaster itself has already made some noise this season, winning two games against Section V competition which usually beats opponents from the Buffalo-area.

In fact, Lancaster is the only Section VI team to win a far West Regional game and it has only happened once before.

“When you can play that caliber team within your area, it says a lot about your area and the kind of players coming out of Western New York,” Ryan said.

Dean, who just saw Hamburg live for the first time, couldn’t have made that same point any better.

Lake Shore beats Amherst after falling to Frontier

Frontier’s defense held Lake Shore’s potent attack to just one second-half goal in an 8-6 win to start the season for both sectional finalist squads.

Hannah Christiansen scored twice in the win, while Brooke Meyers notched one goal and three assists and Julia Hackford, one goal and an assist. Also scoring goals for Frontier were Hannah Lease, who also led the team with four ground balls, Taylor Izzo, Jackie Dufresne, Amy Jordan and Hannah Lease. Molly Kacmarski was voted the team’s MVP at game’s end thanks to her work on the defensive end of the field. Emily Pasternak stopped six shots to earn the win in goal.

For Lake Shore, prolific junior scorer Allie Jimerson found the back of the net three times against Frontier. However, the Eagles followed that loss with a big division win over defending Class C champion Amherst 9-7 on Monday (April 15). Jimerson erupted for seven goals in the rematch of last year’s sectional final.
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