The girl’s lacrosse sectional playoffs begin next week.
One team we know will be in is Johnson City.
A big reason for that is my Athlete of the Week.
“She’s a feeder. Madison, she’s been on varsity since 7th grade. She’s always looking to feed, almost too much. I’m trying to get her to score goals. This year, she finally is. But, her priority is to make other players on the field better,” says Johnson City Head Coach Joe Schieve.
It’s been a lengthy and impressive varsity lacrosse career for Johnson City senior Madison Balchikonis.
She’s in her 6th season playing for the Wildcats, and has done nothing but score goals and dish out assists.
As far as this season goes, Madison believes that the team has already accomplished two things that she’ll remember for years.
“I feel like, for me and the team, it’s going very well. We’ve had a lot of big wins. One, we beat Owego, which was my first time in six years. And we also just won two games to get us into the playoffs last week,” said Balchinkonis.
Those wins put the Wildcats into the section playoffs for the first time since Madison’s freshman year.
Joe Schieve has been Madison’s coach for years.
Besides her abilities to score and pass, Schieve also believes that Madison has another strong asset on the field.
“She has vision that I haven’t really coached in a long time. She’ll see a pass and it’s one of those ‘No no no’. And all of a sudden, you’re like ‘Yes!’ the ball’s in the back of the net. So, Madison sees things on the field that other people don’t see.”
With credit to her stick skills and vision, Madison will be heading off to Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester this fall.
She’ll be studying sports management and playing lacrosse for the Redhawks.
Balchikonis is very thankful for the opportunity that was presented to her through her hard work.
“It feels really good because I look around my school and not a lot of people are going. So, I’m very excited that I did have the opportunity, and that I did keep going and push to play at a higher level.”
While she’s excited to start the next chapter in her life, she knows that she couldn’t have done it without the support of her family, including her sister and teammate, Ashlyn.
“Every single family member, they come to basically every single one of my games. They’re always supporting me and cheering me on. I don’t think I really could have done it without them.”
One thing her family knows is her personality.
Schieve also knows what Madison’s like off the field, as he’s been a teacher of hers for several years now.
“So, having her in class, it’s a riot. And having her on the field, I say she’s a class clown, but she’s also the team clown. She makes everyone laugh. She keeps it light. She asks funny questions in the middle of games. She’s a riot. So, I really enjoy having her. We’re going to miss her next year.”
Being around her often enough has also led Schieve to discover one of Madison’s other hidden quote-unquote talents.
“She says she doesn’t have lots of talents, but she does enjoy singing. She may not tell you that. It’s not a talent, I don’t think. But, she does it an awful lot. So, you’ll hear her singing on the bus, during drills, in class. So, she enjoys singing, she’s just not very good at it.”
You can bet that Madison will be singing before her team’s next game in the sectional playoffs though, taking on either Maine-Endwell or Vestal.