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Eden's Neureuter continues to leave her mark

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It all started with a sparkly pink lacrosse stick several years ago.

Molly Neureuter was given the stick, perfectly fit for a little girl with aspirations to jump into the sport, when she was five-years-old.

Ever since then, lacrosse and Neureuter have been inseparable.

“I can’t imagine my life without it,” Neureuter said about her beloved sport, not the sparkly stick.

Fast-forward 12 years and the five-year-old girl with the pretty lacrosse stick is now a five-year starter at Eden, leading the Raiders’ offensive charge since her days on the team as a middle school student.

“It’s been amazing, honestly,” said Neureuter, who is also a member of Lady Roc and the national team. “Some of my best friends were older, so I think that helped me…not mature, but see the world from different perspectives. I think that made me a better player.”

Neureuter is the all-time leading scorer at Eden, a fairly new program that has not seen the likes of her before she came aboard as an eighth grader and possibly will never see again once she graduates.

“She can take over a game for us,” said Eden head coach Phil Archabald. “If Molly’s on, and she usually is, she can dominate. When she has the ball, it’s difficult to stop her when she decides to go to the cage. It’s difficult for me to get her to move the ball because she is a determined athlete when she has the ball. She doesn’t stop for much.”

Neureuter put up 67 goals and helped on 23 more on her way to a much decorated junior campaign, earning a spot on the All-WNY First Team and All-Metro team.

But with as many accolades as she already has, there is always room for improvement on and off the stat sheet in her eyes.

“I’m always looking to improve,” said Neureuter, who has notched 24 goals and four assists through the first four games this season. “I always try to be a leader to my team because it’s important.”

“I remember being the youngest one on the team and how scary that was,” she added. “Seeing the older girls can be intimidating no matter what team you’re on. So I try to keep that in mind because we do have a younger team this year.”

Much more than an efficient goal scorer, Neureuter makes her presence felt all over the field. She picked up 29 ground balls last spring and already has 13 this season. She was also the winner of 53 draws as a junior and has 35 through four games as a senior.

“She is, probably, naturally an attacker. But she’s too valuable of an athlete to leave her on attack, so she plays the whole field for us,” said Archabald. “She plays middy, but I’m sure she would be a great goalie, great defender…anything”

Last season, the up-and-coming Class C program took a huge step by making a trip to the semifinals, losing to Lake Shore by one goal for a chance to make its first appearance in the sectional championship game.

Knowing how close they were to the big game last year gave Neureuter much hope for what Eden can accomplish this time around.

“I’m thinking about how much better we can be because we are a growing program,” said Neureuter, who is also a cheerleader. “That’s one of the things I was most excited about this year. Seeing how far we’ve come, coming into this year I was really hopeful that we could go far, and I think we will.”

The Raiders had a 2-3 record at press time, but they still look to be competitive behind strong leaders alongside Neureuter on both ends.

“The program has grown leaps and bounds,” said Archabald. “This wasn’t supposed to be a rebuilding year for us, but at the same time we can be successful with the girls we have now with Molly and Chelsea Jackson and Mel [Raduluff] and Sarah Woods on defense. We really have some strong players that have been around the game for a while.”

While Eden still may have some growing pains to get through, Neureuter will be right there. Still improving, still learning and still leading.

“What I’ve learned from playing with Eden is that mistakes are going to be made, but it’s how you respond to them,” she said. “It’s what you take away from the losses and really appreciate the wins.”
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