Despite the one-year break in MHSAA girls lacrosse due to COVID-19, little has changed when it comes to the look of championship weekend.
The four teams playing for this year’s titles in Division 1 and 2 are more than familiar with reaching the season’s final day. In Division 1, Rockford will meet Brighton after they also faced off in the 2018 and 2019 Finals. In Division 2, East Grand Rapids faces Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood; they met in the 2016 and 2017 championship games, with Cranbrook then making the 2018 Final and East Grand Rapids doing the same in 2019.
Below is a glance at all four teams playing at Novi High School. Statistics are through Regional Finals unless noted. The Division 2 Final is set for 2 p.m., with Division 1 following at 4:30. Tickets cost $9.40 and are good for both games, and may be purchased online only at GoFan.
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association West & overall
Coach: Ashton Peters, fourth season (41-14-1)
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2011, runner-up 2010, 2018 and 2019.
Best wins: 18-5 (Semifinal) and 16-2 over Bloomfield Hills, 14-4 and 19-13 over Hartland, 19-10 and 17-11 (Regional Final) over Northville.
Players to watch: Ella Boose, jr. M (31 goals, 23 assists); Sophie Mondro, sr. A (29 goals, 17 assists); Amanda Granader, jr. A (104 goals 19 assists); Gabby Mainhardt, jr. M (52 goals, 13 assists). (Stats through Regional Quarterfinals.)
Outlook: The Bulldogs finished runners-up in both 2018 and 2019, with Mondro scoring a team-high four goals in the 2019 championship game. She and Boose both earned all-state honorable mention that season. Peters was a player on the 2011 championship team and went on to become one of the most accomplished in Alma College history. Granade is the 11th player in MHSAA history to score 100 goals in a season. Junior mid Abbey Burchfield had added another 28 goals and 11 assists through the Regional Quarterfinals.
League finish: Third in Ottawa-Kent Conference Tier 1
Coach: Mike Emery, 14th season (228-52-7)
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2010, 2013-19.
Best wins: 19-5 over Brighton, 12-10 and 11-10 (OT in Regional Semifinal) over Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern/Eastern, 16-10 over Midland/Dow in Semifinal, 21-3 over Spring Lake.
Players to watch: Katherine Rodriguez, sr. M (50 goals, 15 assists); Chloe Dunham, sr. A (55 goals, 18 assists); Mackenzie Delacher, jr. A (36 goals, 20 assists); Chloe Holmes (35 goals, 23 assists). (Stats through Regional Semifinals.)
Outlook: Despite missing a season with the rest of the state, Rockford brings back significant Finals experience as it seeks an eighth-straight championship. Rodriguez scored four goals in the 2019 title game win, while Dunham scored three, Holmes scored twice and Delacher had a goal and assist. Sophomore attack/mid Izzy Osborn (28 goals/31 assists) is another notable playmaker. The Rams twice avenged an earlier loss to FHNE, with the other defeats twice to East Grand Rapids by a combined three goals and once to Loyola Academy of Illinois.
BLOOMFIELD HILLS CRANBROOK KINGSWOOD
League finish: Second in Detroit Catholic League Central
Coach: Jeanne Woodbury, first season (13-5)
Championship history: Division 2 champion 2017 and 2018, runner-up 2015 and 2016.
Best wins: 14-13 over Detroit Country Day in Regional Final, 18-7 and 16-10 over Bloomfield Hills Marian.
Players to watch: Lilli Sherman, sr. M (41 goals, 18 assists); Mallory Brophy, sr. A/M (50 goals, 24 assists); Olivia DeMuth, sr. A (28 goals, 21 assists); Riya Batra, jr. M. (60 goals, 20 assists). (Stats through Semifinals.)
Outlook: Cranbrook won its final four games of the regular season and has since run its streak to nine straight victories – and five of its six losses came by just three goals or fewer. Sherman earned an all-state honorable mention as a sophomore in 2019. Coach Woodbury played at Boston College, and senior daughter Gwen is the team’s goalie and also one of the state’s top swimmers. Sophomore Ella Lantigua is another scoring threat with 35 goals and 24 assists this spring.
EAST GRAND RAPIDS
League finish: First in O-K Tier 1
Coach: Geri Merrell, first season (22-2)
Championship history: Division 2 champion 2012-16, 2019; runner-up 2017.
Best wins: 21-4 and 25-4 over Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 18-5, 16-11 and 17-8 (Regional Semifinal) over Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central; 19-4 over Spring Lake in Regional Final, 22-4 over Grand Rapids Christian in Regional opener, 15-6 and 22-4 (Semifinal) over DeWitt, 13-4 and 6-4 over Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern/Eastern, 21-3 over Bloomfield Hills, 14-13 and 11-9 over Rockford, 23-2 over Hartland, 11-10 over Brighton.
Players to watch: Lizzie Lundeen, jr. A (102 goals, 34 assists); Eliana LaMange, jr. A (61 goals, 25 assists); Vivian LaMange, fr. A (47 goals, 54 assists); Caroline Potteiger, jr. G (6.3 goals-against average).
Outlook: The Pioneers have played many of the best from both divisions, winning a league title ahead of Division 1 Rockford and Forest Hills Northern/Eastern and losing this season only to FHNE in the second of a three-game series and to Loyola Academy of Illinois. There are many dangerous offensive players with whom to contend, with juniors Lucy Cavanaugh (48 goals/78 assists) and Ella Gjorgjievski (42/16) two more in addition to those listed above. Just as impressively, EGR has given up an average of only 4.8 goals per game over five postseason games, and held teams to six or fewer goals 16 times this season.
PHOTO: Brighton’s Sophie Mondro looks for a scoring opportunity against Rockford during the 2019 Division 1 championship game.