2015 Section VI Champions: Class A - Lancaster; Class B - Hamburg; Class C - Amherst; Msgr. Martin Assoc.: Mount St. Mary.
Who’s good: All of the champs are in good position to repeat in 2016, but some of last season’s runners-up have a chance to take away the title.
In Class A, Lancaster has a couple of tight wins to its credit over Frontier and Hamburg. Clarence and Orchard Park could make some noise. In Class B, Hamburg will try to stay ahead of last year’s second-place team, Williamsville East, while the two West Seneca schools are coming along well. In Class C, Lake Shore has the early lead in the standings, but Amherst and East Aurora are close behind. In Monsignor Martin, Mount St. Mary lost in overtime to Sacred Heart, the champion in 2013 and 2014, last week and Mount Mercy defeated Sacred Heart on Monday. Mount St. Mary and Mount Mercy will meet again on Wednesday.
Who’s good in the state: In boys’ lacrosse, Long Island, Syracuse and Rochester are the perennial powers. It’s like that in the girls’ game, too. Not a single Section VI teams is mentioned in any class in the latest state rankings.
High level: Seven players from last year’s All-Western New York team for Section VI are back — McKenna Rushford of Amherst, Claire Herrman of Hamburg, Anna Orlando of Lancaster, Lindsey Hogan of Nichols, Riley Lucarelli of Lancaster, Grace Ruh of Orchard Park and Jenna Haring of Lake Shore.
Dates to remember: The Section VI playoffs begin on May 23. It doesn’t take long to reach the finals, which will be played on June 1 at All-High Stadium in Buffalo. The Far West Regionals follow on June 4, and the States will take place in Cortland on June 10-11. The date for the Senior All-Star Contest has not been determined.
Rule changes: Overtime periods are a thing of the past this season. It’s sudden death, which means every possession in extra time will be downright crucial.
The throw also has been eliminated and replaced by alternating possessions. The winner of the opening coin flip will choose between taking the ball or picking a side of the field. That decision might come down to the weather, as teams usually don’t want to have their goalies staring into the sun and might pick accordingly.
Coming soon: The state will create a fourth class next year, just like in the boys’ game.
Mergers? No schools have teamed up to form one joint team yet. A total of 23 schools play in Section VI, while seven non-public schools also participate.
Not a problem, so far: Concerns over concussions in all high school sports are growing, and that extends to girls lacrosse. Any game that features sticks around the head will come under scrutiny, and officials are trying to make the game safer when possible. But concussions are relatively rare in this sport, and all of them are reported to state authorities. That includes freak occurrences, like the girl who had a concussion when she tripped and bumped her head on the ground.
Prep Talk Player of the Year favorites: Rushford and Herrman are considered the favorites. They are both great athletes, and have a similar style of play. Herrman might have an edge in shooting, but Rushford - a three-sport standout - can be a force all over the field.