Molly Neureuter set the bar during her five years playing lacrosse at Eden, graduating as the program’s leading scorer. Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes.
All Molly Neureuter wanted to do was follow in the footsteps of her older brothers. So when she was asked to reflect on all that she had accomplished throughout her five-year varsity lacrosse career at Eden, she couldn’t find any words to say.
Neureuter set the bar for every girl that will play lacrosse in a Lady Raiders uniform from here on out, but Eden’s all-time leading scorer seemed surprised, overwhelmed and even a bit peculiarly unaware of all that she has done as an individual and for the program while simply mimicking the sport that her brothers, Troy and Mason, loved to play.
“I guess…setting that standard…it feels great,” said Neureuter. “I always kind of looked up to my older brothers, who were very talented in lacrosse. I always wanted to be like my brothers and getting recognized for it is new for me. It makes me smile.”
Her latest recognition came as a repeat pick on the All-CPOWNY first team.
Neureuter was one of eight locals honored at the fifth annual All-CPOWNY Lacrosse Banquet, presented by the Buffalo Bandits June 17 at Ilio DiPaolo’s. She was joined by Hannah Lease and Taylor Izzo of Frontier, Lake Shore’s Alie Jimerson and Hamburg’s Jill Ford, Claire Herrmann, Lucas Shafer and Evan Hollfelder.
The five-year varsity starter made the All-Western New York first team as a junior, All-WNY second team as a senior and was voted onto two All-CPOWNY first teams.
Neureuter also received the nationally recognized US Lacrosse Jackie Pitts award.
According to the nomination form, that award “recognizes a graduating senior in each chapter who truly honors the game of lacrosse, is invested in the development of the game in her community, is an exceptional player who continually strives to improve her game, and is an exemplary member of her team,” along with being an outstanding student and role model on and off the field as well as in school.
She is the most decorated player in the history of the girls lacrosse program at Eden, and she did not think about it once during her tenure.
“Honestly, no,” she said. “It is such an honor. It really is. I hope I can be a role model. I think that’s why I like coaching so much and having these girls look up to me.”
After graduating in June, Neureuter began getting ready for the next phases of her lacrosse career. The first of which is coaching, as she joins her father, Curtis, as junior varsity coaches for the inaugural season of Eden Lacrosse Club’s girls team.
“It’s interesting,” Neureuter said about coaching. “I’ve had wonderful coaches over the years. I’ve been able to pick and choose the things I’ve liked that they’ve taught me over the years and instill my love for the game into these girls.”
Neureuter’s age has been helpful when it comes to coaching a young group. Through her own experiences being taught by college players just a few years older than her, she believes that her youth helps with the ELC players’ development.
“I think they can relate to me more,” she said. “The input the college girls that coached me in the summer gave me meant so much to me because I knew they were going through it. So I guess it is helpful that I am younger.”
Neureuter’s role shift is odd for her because she was always used to being one of the younger girls. She played JV in seventh grade before starting on varsity from eighth grade on out. She was always one of the better players on the team, but when she finally became a senior, she noticed the difference in leading by example, which came with her skill level, and leading by experience, which was all about being a senior. But she was up for the challenge.
“It was definitely very strange because it was something I wasn’t really used to,” Neureuter said about finally being one of the oldest players on the team. “I was a captain last year. I always tried to be a leader, but this year actually having to be a leader and set that example, that was a challenge and I accepted it with open arms.
“I always wanted them to know that I wasn’t a big, bad senior. I wanted to help them love that sport as much as I do.”
Neureuter will continue to follow in her family’s footsteps when she moves on to continue her education at William Smith College to play for its Division III lacrosse program, passing on Division I and Division II offers. Her grandpa, Gary, brother, Troy, and father all went to or still attend Hobart College, William Smith’s brother school.
“I just fell in love with it,” said Neureuter, who has visited a number of colleges while following her brothers on their college tours. “I can’t really explain what it was, but you really do get a feeling when you find the right school. It just so happens that my grandpa and my dad went there and my brother goes there now.”
Neureuter scored 90 points with 67 goals as a junior and 81 points with 58 goals in her senior season at Eden. While the Raiders were one goal shy of a sectional championship game appearance in 2013, they were not able to compete on the same level this spring and could not keep up with defending champion Amherst in the Class C semifinals in May.
“I don’t want to say it was disappointing because last year was so great, but I do wish we could’ve done a little bit better,” said Neureuter, who also was a cheerleader in high school. “And it’s not that our drive wasn’t there. The girls loved playing lacrosse and it was something I tried to set as an example with hard work and practice, but I don’t know what it was that didn’t let us go far.
“I think it’s because we are such a young team,” she added. “We have a summer program (ELC) now that we didn’t have when I was little, so with the summer program, Eden can be a competitor in years to come.”
While the best lacrosse player Eden High School’s girls varsity program has ever seen begins her coaching career and laces up for college, there will be even more girls who will look up to Neureuter in awe and aspiration, only hoping to be as good as she was. And with a little humility, maybe they will, for the praises and applauses will come eventually.
“I never really thought I’d be that girl in the paper or have her picture on the wall at Eden,” she said. “It’s just something so new to me and I’m so honored.”