What a difference six years can make.
Not even in her wildest dreams would 12-year old Taylor Gehen ever imagine she would be ending high school with back-to-back sectional titles in lacrosse and that she’d be going on to play the sport in college.
But that’s just what happened.
Gehen, now a senior at Frontier, scored a hat trick as the Falcons won their second-straight sectional championship, a 13-6 decision over crosstown rival Hamburg in the Class B final on Thursday night at Williamsville North High School.
Frontier will move on to the Far West Regionals against Section V’s Brighton at Honeoye Falls-Lima High School on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Frontier coach Tim Myslinski begged the then sixth-grader to play lacrosse, but Gehen insisted she was a hockey player and told him that lacrosse “wasn’t physical enough” for her.
After track didn’t work out she finally decided to give lacrosse a try in eighth grade.
Gehen was pulled up to varsity as a freshman and became a starter late in the season.
“I developed skills my freshman year,” Gehen said. “Playing soccer and hockey, lacrosse came naturally to me. My sophomore year was when I became to be the player I am today.”
The player Gehen became is the Falcons’ leading scorer and a future Division-I lacrosse player.
“She just blossomed into this amazing lacrosse player,” Myslinski said of Gehen, who will be at Towson next year. “She one of the most driven individuals I’ve ever worked with.”
The six-time defending Section VI Class B Champion Bulldogs jumped out to a 2-0 lead just five minutes into the game, but Frontier, who moved down to B after the winning the Class A title last year, responded back with seven straight goals.
“No matter what, a great team has poise and confidence,” Myslinski said. “When we finally got (our) first goal they looked at each and nodded because we knew were going to get more.”
Marissa Comerate put home an open shot in front of the net for Frontier’s first goal. That was followed up a few minutes with a goal from Gehen. Comerate gave her team the lead when she took a pass and quickly shot it in.
Gehen, Camerion Day and Haylee Tatar all scored before Comerate scored her third goal of the night.
Dana Bacher stopped the bleeding for Hamburg as Frontier led 7-3 at the half.
Hamburg struck first in the second half as Emma O’Neill went over the top to cut the deficit to three, but that was as close as the Bulldogs would get.
“When I first started out I was 22 and I had no idea that this is what it would be like,” said Hamburg coach Katy Ryan, who is stepping down. “Eight years in a row we’ve been in the (sectional final) and six years in a row we’ve won it. It’s been awesome. I feel really lucky to have the kids that I’ve had come through the program.”
Myslinski couldn’t help but feel a little nostalgia himself either.
The coach and teacher in the Frontier school district began teaching at the middle school six years ago where he had first met many of the current seniors.
“This group is really special to me,” Myslinski said. “I’ve had these girls since they were in sixth grade. I have crazy expectations and they just accept them.”
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