Weekly Feature

2017-06-15 / Sports

Bauda tabbed All-Bee Girls Coach of the Year


Jeff Bauda Jeff Bauda West Seneca East has become a premier girls lacrosse program in Western New York, but it has taken a group effort from players and coaches, said head coach Jeff Bauda, the 2017 All-Bee Girls Lacrosse Coach of the Year.

“Without the hard work and belief in themselves, I wouldn’t be here,” Bauda said. “I pride myself on being positive and trying to provide a fun atmosphere. I focus on the mental aspect of the game. It’s having the confidence in your abilities and being able to respond during adverse times that really says a lot about you. We play for and support each other, no matter the situation.”

West Seneca East finished 15-4, tying the school record for wins with the 2010 team that won the program’s only Section VI title. Their season started with an 11-8 win over defending Class B champion Hamburg March 29 and ended with a 16-9 loss to Lake Shore in the Class C final. East reached the Class B final in 2016 but moved to Class C due to division realignment.

Bauda’s success has not gone unnoticed by the coaches in the Bee coverage area who voted the third-year coach as the Coach of the Year.

“It’s awesome, but I don’t do this to get recognized,” Bauda said. “I do it for the kids. I have built some great relationships with them. It’s always flattering when other coaches see what you are doing and they appreciate what you are doing, as well. Just because I am the Coach of the Year doesn’t take anything away from every other coach that coaches girls lacrosse.”

Bauda was JV boys lacrosse coach at East from 2004 to 2008 before becoming girls varsity assistant coach under Rick Schmitt in 2009. He was named varsity girls head coach in 2015.

“Rick laid the foundation,” Bauda said. “Teams start to experience so much success that there is an expectation. You look at programs like Lancaster and Hamburg. These programs that win have kids who want to try out and be a part of it. On the flip side, they don’t want to be the team that does not carry on the tradition. That has been a big draw in the past couple of seasons.”

Bauda said what made this year’s team special was that the players never cared about the stats, but only if the team won.

“It was always about the team,” Bauda said. “I think that is one of the reasons why we were so successful. They worked hard, had fun and started to believe in themselves. When you have that support from one another, the possibilities are endless.”

East’s roster included some of the greatest players in program history, led by senior captains Laura Skrzypczyk, a four-year starter at attack who holds school records for single-season goals and career goals; Grace Vogel, a three-year starter at midfield who holds the single-game school record for goals; and senior midfielder Maddy Austin.

“You could always count on them to perform their best and work their hardest,” Bauda said. “That was one of the reasons why we were so successful. It was their senior leadership that the underclassmen saw, and they really performed well along with those girls.”

Bauda also credited varsity assistant coach Tori Suto, a 2011 East grad, and JV coach Brittany Nagowski for their help in shaping the program.

email: pnagy@beenews.com

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