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Buffalo Seminary's Rauch living up to expectations

by Matthew Ondesko: Owner

Photos: Geoff Schneider/Sports Union

Freshman aren’t supposed to do what Buffalo Seminary’s Lilli Rauch did last year. All Rauch did was come in and set the Monsignor Martin on fire, earning herself All-Catholic honors.

But, you wouldn’t expect anything less from Rauch, who has very high expectations for herself. She knew last year wasn’t going to be easy.

That didn’t stop her from having fun out on the field. While there were some growing pains, Rauch was out there having fun and supporting her teammates. As the season went on, the team started to improve, which all someone could ask for.

“Attending such a small school like SEM I knew there were going to be some challenges, especially because most of the girls on the team were either first year players, or only started lacrosse their freshman year,” stated Rauch. “Despite this, I went in with a positive attitude and knew that I was just playing to play and have fun. SEM encourages people to try new sports, and get involved in different things. It was fun to watch some of the girls learn to play lacrosse and improve throughout the season. I tried not to take anything too seriously, and made sure that I was supporting my teammates. I wanted to contribute to the team as much as I could. When I was in season it really didn’t feel like I was doing anything special, I was just playing and having fun like I always do.”

Despite all the success Rauch had last year, she still wasn’t happy with how she played. She went into the season with high expectations for herself, and she feels like she didn’t meet the expectations - at least early on in the season.

It’s that kind of drive, though, that makes Rauch the type of player she is. Even though she was receiving praise from everyone around her, Rauch knew she still needed to improve her game if she wanted to get to the level that she has set for herself.

“I went into the season with high expectations for myself, and was focused on improving my play, even though I wouldn’t be playing against the top teams in Western New York. Honestly, I was not too happy with myself at the beginning of the season, I thought I could do better than what I did,” stated Rauch. “That is just my personality though, I am always looking to improve. I didn’t realize I was doing as well as I was until I was getting face guarded, and some of the top girls in the Monsignor Martin League new my name.”

Heading into this season, everyone knows who Rauch is. She isn’t able to sneak up on anyone like she did last year. Neither can this team. Early in the year, Buffalo Seminary lost a close game against Nichols, which is one of the best lacrosse teams in Western Nee York.

Knowing that she wouldn’t be able to sneak up on anyone, Rauch made sure she just kept working on her game. Working on the little things that would make her better over the course of a season.

“I am working with both my club coach, and my high school coaches, to figure out how to get past face-guards and double teams. Something I am hoping to do is be able to set up my teammates more when I am face-guarded,” stated Rauch. “If I can get defenders to look my way it makes it that much easier for my teammates to get past theirs. Being face-guarded or double teamed will make me a better player as frustrating as it is.”

Frustration is definitely part of the game. Because of her big campaign last year, Rauch knew what to expect coming into this year. She knew she was going to be facing the double teams every time she's out there.

She knew teams were going to game plan for her. II’s part of being that good. Rauch tried not to get frustrated when it comes to all the attention she gets every game, but it’s not easy. There are times though Rauch just wants to help her team win. If she doesn’t score, or have any points, she feels like she let her teammates down.

“Honestly, I do get frustrated. My first game I got face-guarded last year it was by Sacred Heart, and I had never experienced something like that before,” stated Rauch. “I ended up with zero points that game and was beyond devastated. I just couldn’t seem to understand how to shake the defender. As I got more versed in being face-guarded it did get better, but sometimes I just wanted to play. Something I found helpful in not getting too frustrated while face-guarded is to really work on my defense, and hone in on a different aspect of play. If I can’t make a huge impact on offense, why not make it on defense.”

Rauch is working on all aspects of her game, so she just isn’t known as a goalscorer. Being able to pass to open teammates, or playing solid defense, is something that Rauch is working on. At the end of the day, Rauch wants to be known as an all-around player.

Someone who is tough to play against, no matter what the condition. Playing travel ball has really helped Rauch with her lacrosse IQ.

“After joining Empress my game IQ and selflessness definitely developed quickly. My coaches at Empress engraved in me that I always have my stick up and eyes up ready to pass. Assists are actually my favorite things. Don’t get me wrong I love to score, but when you are able to hit a cutter at the exact right time and you just know their about to score it’s amazing. To me a great player will understand when to keep the ball and when to pass in order to create the best opportunities,” explained Rauch. “There is so much more that makes a good player a great player. This year I really want to focus on my draw circle play and causing more turnovers in the midfield. I will push myself to play as hard as I can, and there will definitely be some tears and frustration, but in the long run I just need to be confident in my abilities, and remember I am doing the sport that I love.”

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