Talent Heading South
Gowanda Duo To Play Lacrosse In ASUN Conference
Section VI schools are fortunate to have one student-athlete sign an NCAA Division I letter of intent.
To have two, in one sport, at a Class C-sized school, is almost unheard of.
Consider the Gowanda girls lacrosse team lucky.
Late last month, seniors Miya Scanlan and Scotia Snyder each signed to play collegiate lacrosse at the Division I level, Scanlan at Jacksonville University and Snyder at Coastal Carolina University.
It’s a dream come true for both girls.
Scanlan grew up in a long line of lacrosse success.
Miya’s older sister, Shayla, is a junior at Louisville University. A five-year letterwinner at Lake Shore High School, Shayla scored more than 200 goals before heading to the Bluegrass State. In three years with the Cardinals, Shayla has scored 42 goals and accumulated 57 points.
Her older brother, Clay, played at Gowanda and for the Six Nations Arrows in the Junior A League before being drafted by the Halifax Thunderbirds of the National Lacrosse League.
And her cousin, Chase, is a 2018 IMG Academy graduate. He played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Silver Creek before transferring to the Bradenton, Florida school that prides itself as the home to the world’s most dedicated student-athletes. Following one season at Loyola (Md.) University, Chase transferred closer to home and is now a member of the Syracuse University men’s team.
“I’ve been playing since I was able to walk,” Miya said Thursday afternoon. ” … I’ve always waited for this moment.”
Snyder returned to her roots in Gowanda after a few years at the Nichols School in Buffalo where she was coached by Beth Stone, who has previously held a position with US Lacrosse.
“Usually middle schoolers don’t play at the varsity level at Nichols, but I was one of the first people to do it because of Beth Stone,” Snyder said. “She has pushed me to do my best. … At Nichols, the program for lacrosse wasn’t the most competitive, but she really just pushed me to go out of my comfort zone.”
Scanlan and Snyder both blossomed in 2019 during their sophomore season with the Panthers. En route to a 12-4 regular season, Gowanda outscored opponents, 230-162.
Scanlan led the team with 79 goals and 44 assists for a total of 123 points while scoring on 66.9% of her shots.
“It was a fun season,” Scanlan said. “It was my first year playing with Scotia in high school. She definitely came and helped us out a lot.”
Snyder was a worthy wingman, scoring 42 goals to go along with a team-high 46 assists en route to 88 points while scoring on 71.2% of her shots.
“Playing with Miya and having family at my side, I knew they were going to be there to push me to my fullest potential,” Snyder said.
The Panthers, who had never played in a Section VI championship game, lost to Eden in overtime, 15-14.
“Getting to the championship game and losing in overtime was sad,” Scanlan said, “but it was a good season overall.”
Both girls hoped to build upon their successes during their junior season with all but three of their teammates returning, but as COVID-19 has done to every aspect of life, the pandemic put those hopes on hold.
Both Scanlan and Snyder believe the young Gowanda program can continue to grow this spring if given the opportunity. While the sectional final loss to Eden hurt, they both feel like a sectional championship or even more is possible this spring if the coronavirus pandemic allows.
“It’s just coming around,” Scanlan said. “People are starting to get into it who have never tried it before. We’ve had winning seasons and I think there’s a lot of pride in that.”
Snyder also has a cousin, Lois Garlow, with a strong lacrosse background. Garlow played at Mount St. Academy and actually led Snyder to Coastal Carolina.
With or without a senior season at Gowanda, they’ll take their talents south and help the Dolphins and Chanticleers in the fall of 2021. Both schools play in the Atlantic Sun Conference with the likes of Stetson, Howard, Liberty and Kennesaw State.
Jacksonville was 3-1 in 2020 with its only loss to No. 8 Michigan last spring before COVID-19 canceled the remainder of the season. Mindy McCord coached her 12th season at Jacksonville in 2020 with a career record of 147-56.
“There were definitely bigger schools looking at me, but I felt like Jacksonville was a better fit,” Scanlan said. “It was a smaller school and they were ranked last year.”
Coastal Carolina was 2-3 last spring, opening its season with victories over Old Dominion and Campbell before a three-game losing streak that included losses to No. 24 Colorado and No. 16 Denver. A past ASUN Coach of the Year, Kristen Selvage has a 48-31 career record at the school. She actually cut her coaching teeth in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference with Lock Haven University, where she led the Bald Eagles to eight NCAA Division II tournaments. She was named the national Coach of the Year in 2015 after leading the school to the national title game.
“My cousin committed there and we all went to a recruiting camp down there,” Snyder said. “I loved it as soon as I went down there. The facilities (were nice) and the people down there were super friendly. It felt like home.”
The Dolphins and Chanticleers were scheduled to play each other this past season on April 9 in Conway, South Carolina, before the pandemic canceled their seasons.
Any future matchups should turn into a local rivalry.
“Even though we aren’t going to the same school, we’ll still be super close,” Snyder said. “I feel like that’s always a plus. … We push each other to do better.”