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Obenshain’s lax journey leads to Albany; Niagara game looms

NOW A GREAT DANE — Former Hamburg girls lacrosse standout Amanda Obenshain is now a sophomore playing for Division I Albany.
Amanda Obenshain has been playing lacrosse since she was 8 years old; the eventual Hamburg lacrosse All-American became a fixture at lacrosse camps and tournaments.

Obenshain’s hard work and determination led her to the University at Albany, where the sophomore with the Great Danes is studying business administration.

“It hasn’t been easy, there was a lot of camps and tournaments that I attended over summer breaks that helped me out a lot,” Obenshain said.

Obenshain recalled her summers playing for the Buffalo Wings Club team, and many trips to out of state tournaments that were influential to her growth as a lacrosse player.

“Every weekend in the summer was an adventure. We’d leave Thursday and get back on Sunday,” she said. “A lot of long road trips with my parents to tournaments in Maryland, New Jersey and Central New York. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. I gave up pretty much all of my summers throughout high school, but I’d do it all over again. To be playing Division I lacrosse makes it all worth it.”

Obenshain attended her first lacrosse camp at the University at Albany; little did she know she’d be walking around the same campus three years later. In 2013, as a freshman, Obenshain played in eight games and recorded four assists. This season, Obenshain has recorded her first collegiate goal in a win over Cornell on March 16, improving Albany’s record to a perfect 5-0.

“Amanda came to camp at Albany and right away you could tell that she loved the game,” said Albany coach John Battaglino. “She stayed at a hotel across the street from campus and would walk over with her stick in her hand and all of her gear ready to go. She was like a little kid who was about to play on the playground, I just loved her mentality and the way that she carried herself. Amanda is a tough young lady, who isn’t afraid to mix it up on the field. For her size, playing around the crease isn’t easy, but she’s learning the game and making the proper adjustments to be successful.”

Katy Ryan, a former Division I player herself, coached Obenshain during her junior and senior season’s at Hamburg. The five-year varsity player enjoyed her two most successful seasons under Ryan. In her senior campaign of 2012, Hamburg won the Class B Section VI crown. This was the second Section VI title team that Obenshain was a part of — she was an eighth-grader on the 2008 team that won the sectionals.

“Amanda has always been an extremely hard worker, as well as a very talented and natural lacrosse player,” said Ryan, who first met Obenshain at 8, when Amanda attended a camp put together by Katy and her father. “You could tell right away she was a gifted athlete, but she also put the hard work in to become the player she is today. She went to the summer camps and played in club leagues, all to make her a better player. Amanda is a very dynamic player, she‘s savvy around the cage. You never knew if she was going to pass or shoot the ball, but most of the time it ended up as a goal.”

Also, during her senior season at Hamburg, Obenshain led Section VI in points, with 116. She totaled 57 goals, to go along with 59 assists for the season. In her 65-game high school career, she scored 170 goals and dished out 139 assists to finish with 309 points during a two-time All-Western New York career.

On March 24, Albany will travel to take on Niagara, where the athlete will be reunited with another former Lady Bulldog, Taylor Wolf. Also, Hamburg alumna Megan Mikolajek is a teammate of Obenshain’s at Albany.

“It’s going to be great playing a game so close to home, and to have three girls from Hamburg in the game will be special as well,” said Obenshain. “Taylor and Megan are both really good players, and we had a lot of good times together at Hamburg. It’ll be fun for all of us to be in the same game in front of our friends and family.”
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