Speed rules in lacrosse. Since Sarah Farnan possesses that attribute, the Peters Township resident dominates the action.
In guiding Seton-La Salle to a Section 2 championship and the WPIAL playoffs, the junior registered a team-high 50 goals and added 12 assists. She tied the team record for draw controls with 86. She also recorded 12 in a single victory against South Fayette this spring.
Farnan comes by her ability naturally. Her mother ran cross country and competed in track at Notre Dame. In fact, she earned All-America status.
“My mom’s pretty humble about it but she was really fast,” said the 16-year-old daughter of Theresa and Michael Farnan. “I’m fast, too. I get that from my mom. My speed is a big asset of my game.”
So is her leadership.
Farnan moved into a role of team captain when the Rebels lost Ellie Grefenstette to an ACL tear in the fourth game of the season. Committed to Division I Fairfield, Grefenstette scored 109 goals and had 109 draw controls last year.
“Sarah took over Ellie’s role as the vocal leader of the team, pumping everyone up and running the show on offense,” said SLS coach Brian Klisavage.
Leadership, like her speed, comes second nature to Farnan. That’s because she has nine other siblings, ranking sixth in the pecking order.
“Having so many siblings, I learned to be vocal,” she said. “Sure, it’s good to lead by example and I think I do by coming to practice first and being ready and also being the last to leave but I also like to pull a player aside and give those pep talks about the standards you have to meet and how they have the potential to do well. Since Ellie’s injury, I’m learned to be more vocal.”
Farnan wasn’t certain she could fill such a role after all she is only in her third year of playing lacrosse.
“Myself and the whole team was so upset when we saw (Ellie) get injured. I loved working with her. She is so talented and she had this amazing presence and calm. Plus, she knows the sport like the back of her hand. After watching her lead and conduct herself, I could only hope that I could fill those shoes.”
College recruiters believe Farnan already has. According to Klisavage, she is “getting attention from multiple coaches” from Division I and II programs.
“Sarah has blossomed into an overall player of a level equal to some of the best in (our) school history,” Klisavage said. “While she is very possibly the most optimistic player I have ever coached, Sarah is also a hard worker. She is constantly working on new moves and shots as well as ways to up her game.”
During the offseason, Farnan uses other sports to improve her play. She played on Seton LaSalle’s soccer team that reached the WPIAL semifinals. Plus, she swims, competing in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races.
“It’s hard to find another sport that has so much sprinting and is so fast-paced as lacrosse but soccer and swimming do help,” Farnan said.
“Soccer is a more settled game and in lacrosse you go as soon as you get the ball and sprint as fast as you can. That’s what I love about lacrosse. The speed and how aggressive it is,” Farnan continued. “But you do have to work hard. It’s like anything. You have to put in the work if you want to get results.”
After dropping five straight games while adjusting to Grefenstette’s absence, the Rebels started to get the results they wanted. They embarked on a seven-game winning streak and finished the regular season with an 11-5 record and a 10-2 section mark.
The Rebels were unable to achieve their next objective, which was win a WPIAL playoff match. After a first-round bye, the Rebels lost to Franklin Regional 15-4 Wednesday in the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals.
“Our goal was winning the section,” Farnan said.
“As one of the team’s midfielders and leaders, my job is definitely to transition the ball down the field quickly, set up my teammates, score goals and make sure we control the tempo of the game.”