No sports program at Saint Stephen’s has gone from birth to district champion faster than girls lacrosse. After starting as a club team in 2009, the program reached varsity status in 2013, and it didn’t take long for the Falcons to taste success.
Teams comprised entirely of underclassmen and middle school students appeared in district title games in 2014 and 2015, before raising the championship trophy for the first time in 2016.
The Falcons defeated defending champion Sarasota Cardinal Mooney, 13-8, on its home field for the District 17 crown and followed that up with the school’s first playoff win, an 18-10 rout of Estero High in the opening round of the state championship. Their post-season run ended at perennial power Naples Barron Collier a few days later, but the Falcons believe they have set the stage for bigger and better things to come.
The 2017 team will be led by a group of proven and experienced performers. Two-time all-district selections Baylee Barker, Emily Hiebner, Katie Pierce, and Kendall Miller return. Prior to last season, Barker and Hiebner were selected to play for the Gulf Coast team at the U.S. Lacrosse Women's National Tournament at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.
The architect of the Falcons program is head coach Leeann Fronckowiak, who has coached and officiated lacrosse for more than two decades. She previously served as head coach at Cardinal Mooney, and was the local board chair for the Tampa Women’s Lacrosse Officials. Fronckowiak was a selector and coach for the New York and Florida teams for the Women’s Division National Tournament, started two varsity high school programs in Buffalo, N.Y., youth programs for Lakewood Ranch and Manasota clubs, and coached the Canisius College club team.
The Falcons play their home games on the state-of-the-art field turf at the Moore Athletic Complex.