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  • Matt Ondesko

Relaxing and having fun

by Matthew Ondesko, Managing Editor

Photos: Geoff Schneider/Sports Union

Being recruited to play athletics at the collegiate level is always a very exciting time. Realizing all the hard work and sacrifices have finally paid off when you put pen to paper is a once in a lifetime experience.

While it is fun going on tours of colleges, and hearing all that comes with being recruited, it can also be stressful. Knowing that there is someone in the stands watching your every move on the field can start weighing on a player.

Some student-athletes have a hard time adjusting to the fact that someone is constantly watching and critiquing every single move that they make. Their game can tale off as they feel the pressure of not making mistakes in front of the college coaches.

That’s one of the reasons why you see so many athletes making their commitment early. Sure they might have found the right fit for themselves right away. But, another reason is because they don’t want to the pressure of having to perform perfectly every game.

Making a commitment early allows a player to just be able to concentrate on their game moving forward, and to have fun. Being able to play loose is what got them here in the first place. Playing the game they love is the reason why they were able to excel and have college coaches looking for them to come to their school.

“Yes, after I committed to Canisius I felt less pressure. I was ready to just play to have fun and without subconsciously worrying about who was watching,” stated Lancaster High School lacrosse player Stephanie Herrnreiter. “I still hold myself to the same standard though and always push myself to play my best. Just because there aren't scouts watching, it isn't an excuse to slack off.”

Herrnreiter is continuing the long list of players from Lancaster that have gone on to play lacrosse at the next level. She is also continuing a tradition of Lancaster players that have gone on to play at Canisius College.

While some of her teammates have signed on to play for St. Bonaventure, making it a nice little rivalry for the next four years, Herrnreiter felt a calmness when she stepped foot on the Main St. campus.

The Golden Griffs are known for their lacrosse excellence. While they haven’t reached their goals over the past couple of seasons, they have a very good, and young squad, coming back after their spring season was canceled.

All that, plus the great academics, added up for Herrnreiter who is happy to be able to continue her career as a Golden Griff.

“Going into the college recruiting process I wanted to enjoy every moment of it and explore all my options. I was recruited by 5 Division 1 schools, Canisius, Niagara, Marquette, Monmouth, and St. Bonaventure. It was a great experience going to all the campuses and going through the entire process but I ultimately felt at home at Canisius,” stated Herrnreiter. “The coaches made me feel welcomed and wanted, they spent a lot of time with me and my family on my visit. They envisioned me contributing to the future success of the program.”

Herrnreiter comes to Canisius after a very decorated career at Lancaster. She produced at levels that former Legends would be proud off. On her way to that success, Herrnreiter picked up numerous awards along the way.

Those awards was something that should cherish, but it wasn’t that defined her. Awards her nice, it meant she had a great season - or career. It also meant that she just needed to work harder the following year to have a good season.

Herrnreiter never rested on the fact that she received accolades. She always came into the season hungrier than the year before. That’s what made her the player that she was at Lancaster. She always wanted to be great, just not good.

“I'm very honored to have won the awards that I did in my high school career. I also know it's very important to stay humble. I know I'm not the best player and there is always room for improvement,” stated Herrnreiter. “I'll never let myself settle with where I'm at. I have a constant want to be better and I'll always push myself. When I play, I block everything out of my head. Including any negativity that I've heard, any nerves I had, or any sense of thinking that I am good enough. Every time I play I tell myself to play my heart out and prove to everyone and myself why I won those awards. I take pride in making my teammates better players. I've always been a team player and I always focus on the success of my team instead of my own individual success.”

After a high school career that was cut short to the virus, Herrnreiter now embarks on a summer that has come more important than in years past. She, like the rest of termites, haven’t played in a long time. They were looking forward to a big spring season to finish off their high school careers, but that never came.

Now, Herrnreiter needs to get ready for her first year of college lacrosse by trying to have a good summer with her travel team, if there is a summer travel season. With things slowly opening for sports, there is a chance that travel lacrosse with be able to get some games in before colleges, and fall ball, get ready to go.

“This summer is going to be extremely important in getting ready for college lacrosse. A lot of people say the transition from high school lacrosse to college lacrosse is hard but since we didn’t  have our season it's going to be that much harder,” stated Herrnreiter. “I've always known that this summer I was going to have to work harder than ever before but now I know I need to find a way to push myself even more so I am ready for college.”

Herrnreiter is expected to contribute right away when she heads to Canisius, that’s what Lancaster lacrosse players do. The girls come from a program that is successful in all aspects on and off the field.

Coach Buccieri is one o the finest coaches in Western New York. She expects a lot out of her players, but is also very fare when it comes to coaching. She gives players like Herrnreiter to succeed at the varsity level - even at such a young age.

There are numerous times a player may be playing varsity as a seventh or eight grader - which could be overwhelming, but Buccieri makes them feel at home, and gives them the confidence that they can do anything they set their minds too.

And, that if they want to be great they can be great.

“Playing for Coach Buccieri has been a privilege. I'm so thankful for her especially because she had confidence in me that I didn't have in myself in my first year on varsity. I was in eighth grade and I knew I was small and had a long way to go,” stated Herrnreiter. “I still needed to prove myself but Coach Buccieri had me as a starter and that gave me an extra boost of confidence. Coach Buccieri also holds me to a very high standard as a player, person, and leader. She always tells me when I need to be doing something better and it's very comforting knowing that I have a coach that isn't okay with being just okay.”


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