Thursday April 4, 2013 | By:Michael J. Petro | Sports
Hannah Lease returns to a Frontier team that is very strong in the midfield and athletic throughout the field.(Photo by Jeff Barnes/Metro Source)
It took years for Frontier to build into the type of team that could compete for a sectional title.
To think the Falcons have developed the type of talent that could have them playing for the last two Class A championships, winning it in 2011, seemed so far fetched years ago during the program’s leaner times.
Many of the mainstays from those teams are now gone, which may not make for a different result but could create a different team make-up.
This year’s Falcons will be head coach Tim Myslinski’s most athletic and versatile group. However, it may not have the stick skills of the past few Frontier teams. Still, there is plenty to be optimistic about.
“It really took some time for us to get to this point, and for us to be here, it’s a testament to the girls hard work and athleticism,” said the busy Myslinski as he tried to juggle spring football clinics and passing camps, while readying his girls lacrosse squad. “There is seldom times you get super athletes and super good lacrosse skills at the same time in one team.”
What may also keep Frontier (13-5) in a position to win a sectional title is its depth in the midfield, which will be anchored by senior captain Hannah Christiansen and Hannah Lease, a returning All-Western New York Second Team selection who will be the team’s first junior captain in many years.
Christiansen made the switch from primarily a defender to the midfield last season and since has been working hard on her offensive skills, Myslinki noted. Lease will make that same jump this year after a busy offseason logging plenty of time playing with the Lady Roc out of Rochester.
Grace Christiansen, Hannah’s senior sister, will remain on defense and anchor that unit as the team’s third captain. Also key on defense will by senior goalie Emily Pasternak, who will play at Delaware State next year and worked hard with Buffalo Lacrosse Academy in the offseason to take on the starter role full-time.
The speedy attack will be led by returning junior starter Taylor Izzo, who will be counted on for offensive contributions, along with classmate Amy Jordan. Both can also play in the midfield.
Also expected to be contributors are senior Christina Heppner and sophomore Julia Hackford, who saw some time last year and learned quite a bit from senior snipers Joelle Kaczmarek, an All-WNY First Team selection, and Ashley Brandt-Hunter. Senor Jenn Abbott could also see time on the attack.
“If I look at it as a whole, it’s right up there as the fastest and most athletic team I’ve ever coached,” Myslinski said. “I have never had six true midfielders, who I can also have playing different positions. It’s nice because as the game goes on, if one of our three middies gets tired, we’ve got depth.”
Though there is not as much depth on the defense where Myslinski will use some more inexperienced players to fill roles. Danielle Galante will be the team’s other rock on defense as the senior has stepped up her game.
Frontier will face a substantial challenge in Class A with defending champion Lancaster returning so much of its talent from last year. Frontier, which ended the Redskins’ six-year reign atop Class A the year prior, will also battle against the distractions that can be created by this rivalry.
“You look at Lancaster and they’re saying this is their year to really do damage (past the sectional round) — I hope they just keep looking past us,” Myslinski said. “I’ve preached to our team to just honor the game whoever they play; look beyond the nonsense...and worry about how we get better as a team and control our own destiny.”
Myslinski anticipates that Clarence, which got very hot at the end of the season and nearly knocked off Lancaster in the semifinals, should also be a team to watch.
Frontier starts the season at Class C finalist Lake Shore on April 9. The Falcons will also meet in non-league action Monsignor Martin defending champion Mt. St. Mary on April 13 and private school power Nichols on April 23.