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Lacrosse Preview 2014: Frontier to be led by strong backend, as it looks for scoring

LEADING THE MIDDIES — Ryan Donovan, Frontier’s go-to middie, possesses the ball during Frontier’s 7 – 5 loss at Amherts on Monday. Frontier will return to action Tuesday hosting Clarence. Photo by Jeffrey Barnes.
The Frontier boys lacrosse team may be strong at the backend, but Chris Stack would prefer that unit not be tested throughout most of his team’s games.

The Falcons will be looking to find ways to get the ball into the net with a less experienced group of players up front. Stack added his offense will also need to take some of the heat off the defense.

“We have to find ways to score goals,” Stack, Frontier’s head coach, said, a day after his team fell at Amherst 7 – 5 in the season opener March 24. “Sometimes, in lacrosse, it doesn’t matter how good you defense is, if you’re playing too much of it.”

Frontier will feature three top-notch senior close defensemen in Pat Quinlivan, Will Kirkwood and Andrew Simpson and a steady junior long pole middie Connor Harman, who’s looking to play at Division II Mercyhurst in college.

Stack said Brockport-bound Quinlivan is one of the top defenders in Western New York, while Simpson is a three-year starter making the transition from long stick middie and Kirkwood’s also a returning starter. They will try to protect first-year varsity goalie Pat Sargeant, who takes on a difficult position to play as a freshman.

The Falcons will need to value every one of their possessions, according to Stack, and the coach will depend on senior Phil Stamer to get them the ball with regularity. Stack said Stamer is one of the better face-off men in the area.

Frontier will look to junior Ryan Donovan in the midfield, as he replaces All-Western new Yorker Second team selection Jimmy Smith as the player running the offense. Junior Austin Snyder and sophomore Billy Lemke will also get plenty of chances playing as middies. Up front, Frontier will look to freshman lefty attackman Owen Bean, who Stack said is young but too good not to play. Seniors Jake Kocic and Tyler Schwartzott will also be relied upon to start the offense on the attack, Stack noted.

“Our message right now is simply to focus on getting better and not worry about the scoreboard,” said Stack, who’s team finished as Class A semifinalist last year. “We want to build toward the end of May [for playoffs]. We’d like to win but that can’t be our focus.”

One of the reasons he says that is because Class A is loaded, with two-time defending champion Orchard Park as good as ever, Clarence, the 2011 champion, looking very skilled, and Lancaster returning nearly everyone to a team that showed improvement last year. Frontier will open at home, April 1, against Clarence.

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