Make it two straight years of players who have left a legacy at Lancaster while doubling up on top individual honors as the best girls lacrosse player in Western New York.
One year after Lancaster veteran Allie Stewart won both the Borrelli Award as Western New York’s top senior along with the Prep Talk Player of the Year award, a longtime teammate did the same.
Grace Gabriel, who like Stewart was a four-time All-Western New York first-teamer, a two-time All-American and a five-time Section VI champion with Lancaster, was this year’s top player by consensus.
Gabriel even did better than Stewart when it comes to the Lancaster all-time goal-scoring list. The midfielder and three-time team MVP scored 80 goals this year to give her 247 and surpass Stewart’s school career record of 231.
Also an Academic All-American the last two seasons, Gabriel will play at Marquette University.
Gabriel headlines this year’s All-Western New York team, which was selected by a panel of area coaches and includes two junior teammates from a Julie Buccieri-coached team that won a fourth straight title for Lancaster — talented midfielder Anna Orlando and speedy defender Riley Lucarelli.
Monday’s Borrelli Awards banquet marked an inaugural collaborative effort by the Tom Borrelli Memorial Award Committee, the Community Papers of Western New York, Lacrosse Digest of Western New York and The Buffalo News to hold one special night for Western New York high school lacrosse.
This year marked the fifth year of the girls’ Borrelli Award, named in honor of the late Buffalo News editor and reporter who was the first media member inducted into the National Lacrosse League’s Hall of Fame. George Borrelli, Tom’s father, addressed the gathering of more than 140 while Tom’s widow, Karen Borrelli, helped present the awards to the honorees as well as the winners of the “Ox” Awards, which go to seniors who display the talent, versatility, hard work, dedication and toughness displayed by Borrelli — whose nickname was “Ox” — in his work at The Buffalo News.
The winner of the girls “Ox” Award was Kiersten Maclay of Williamsville East, who helped the Flames to their first-ever sectional final with tenacious hard work, especially on the draw and on defense.
“She is the definition of an ‘Ox’,” said an opposing coach. “She is a workhorse. She is pure hustle. If you tell her to run through a wall, her response would be ‘How fast?’ A great kid and a great teammate.”
Other girls honorees Monday night included the All-Western New York first team and the following CPOWNY honorees: Catherine Meegan of Mount St. Mary (Unsung Hero), Alyssa Abendschein of Mount St. Mary (Most Improved), Andrew Karpinko of Amherst (Coach of the Year), Gabriel (Player of the Year) and Orlando (Andrew Maisano Leadership Award). See photos from Monday evening’s event at BuffaloNews.com.
Around the cages
• It is quite likely that every member of this year’s All-Western New York first team will be playing high-level lacrosse in college. Underclassmen are even committed already. The impressive list of schools from the 11 committed members of the first team: Marquette, St. Bonaventure, Canisius, Colgate, Navy, Yale, Albany and Division II stalwarts Le Moyne and Mercyhurst.
• Jenna Haring of Lake Shore is not just a standout locally, this summer she will be the goalie for the Haudenosaunee Nation team which will compete at the Under-19 World Championships from July 23-Aug. 1 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Also on the Haudenosaunee team are Lake Shore underclassmen midfielders Shayla Scanlan (sophomore) and Jalyn Jimerson (freshman) as well as Jalyn’s older sister, 2014 Lake Shore graduate and three-time All-WNY first-teamer now at Albany, Alie Jimerson.
• Put a stick in Mckenna Rushford’s hands, and look out. The talented Amherst junior was first-team All-Western New York not only in lacrosse but in field hockey (she also earned the Prep Talk Player of the Year award in that sport), while she was a second-team All-Federation selection in ice hockey.
• The boys lacrosse All-Western New York team appeared Tuesday and can be found at BuffaloNews.com. The baseball and softball All-Western New York packages will be published in the near future.