Lancaster's Gabriel takes awhile to adjust to the game
After a year to get her feet wet at the varsity level as an eighth-grader, the Lancaster lacrosse team's standout has been all over the field this year.
"It took a while for me to adjust," Gabriel said. "This year, I'm more adjusted and it's really going well."
You'd have hardly noticed any growing pains from Gabriel last year. She scored 16 goals and was a major cog in the lineup for the Redskins. But this year, she's moved to a completely higher level.
Gabriel has 30 goals through 12 games for the Redskins as a freshman. In a pivotal midseason stretch that saw the Redskins play four top-tier opponents in five days, she was at her best. Gabriel totaled 15 goals in wins over Williamsville North, Clarence, Orchard Park and Hamburg.
And she's about a whole lot more than just scoring goals. She has 55 groundballs, by far the team lead and also has won a team-best 53 face-offs.
"She's doing a great job for us and she's only a freshman. She's our go-to girl on the draw and she's got the most groundballs every single game and she works hard every minute of every game. We're really looking forward to what she can do in the years to come."
After an 0-3 start – with all three of the losses coming against top Section VI teams in competitive games – Lancaster has been on a roll. The Redskins have won eight of nine and five straight and seem like a strong challenger to reclaim the Section VI championship that used to reside in Lancaster every year.
“We’re playing pretty well,” she said. “We have some tough games coming up, but I think we'll be able to stick it out and do well.”
The Redskins have an extraordinarily young roster – 14 of the 23 girls on the squad are in tenth grade or younger. But many of those girls played last year so, like Gabriel, many of the young Redskins already have extensive big-game experience. That could be real bad news for the rest of Western New York – and maybe even the rest of the state – in the coming years.
“Our chemistry coming around and we're all playing really well,” Gabriel said. “Hopefully we can keep playing hard and keep getting better.”