East Grand Rapids Scores Repeat in OT

June 9, 2018

By Jason Schmitt
Special for Second Half

HOWELL Defense is the specialty of East Grand Rapids boys lacrosse coach Rick DeBlasio.

But even the veteran coach had to be impressed with the offensive exploits of his high scoring tandem of seniors Eric Solberg and Chris Owens.

Solberg tied an MHSAA championship game record with six goals and Owens netted the game-winner as the Pioneers won their second straight Division 2 title with an 11-10, double-overtime victory over Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central on Saturday at Parker Middle School in Howell.

“When he gets his hands free and sweeps, and if you give him a half a step, it’s over,” said DeBlasio, talking of Owens, the team’s leading scorer this season. “For him to get the game-winning goal, it was really special. It’s something the whole team celebrates.”

The game-winner, which came with 2:04 left in the second overtime, may have caught the Rangers by surprise – and some of Owens’ teammates as well.

“We had decided to settle it down, maybe get on offense, but I saw an opening and I just took a shot,” said Owens, taking in the moment just minutes after being swarmed by his teammates on the north end of the field. “It’s crazy, all these people watching. It feels really good to finish it off.”

It seemed like neither team would be able to finish things off. East Grand Rapids looked like it was going to close out the game in regulation, only to see Forest Hills Central tie it up at 10-10 on a goal by junior Luke Majick with 33 seconds remaining.

“To get back to this game, after what happened last year, has really been a driving motivator for us this year,” Rangers coach Andy Shira said. “Obviously our guys didn’t want to lose (the game). Especially against East Grand Rapids, we’re not going to go down without a fight.”

That was evident throughout the game.

Forest Hills Central kicked off the scoring less than five minutes in, with senior Tobey Hendricks scoring off a pass from Majick. But East Grand Rapids would answer, with Solberg scoring a pair of goals to cap off a low-scoring first quarter.

Forest Hills Central and East Grand Rapids then went on a scoring binge, combining to tally seven goals in just less than four minutes, the last three scored by the Pioneers. Solberg had three of them, Owens had the other, giving their team a 6-4 lead at halftime.

Though the Pioneers continued to maintain a lead into the fourth quarter, Forest Hills Central would not go away. On three occasions, the Rangers tied the game up. Junior Tate Hallock scored two of those tying goals, with Majick scoring the other.

Solberg’s six goals tied a championship game record held by three Birmingham Brother Rice players (Morgan Macko, Jason Alessi and Devin Peurach). He’s a converted midfielder, something his coach said has worked in favor of the Pioneers.

“We were hoping his dodging would free him up, but we went through a period where offensively we weren’t getting the kind of production we wanted and I moved him to attack,” DeBlasio said. “Since I moved him to attack, he’s averaged four to six goals a game. He’s a pretty special kid.”

Junior Jack DelVecchio and senior Drew Poortenga also scored goals in the Pioneers’ victory.

Hallock finished with four for Forest Hills Central (18-2), while Majick and senior Patrick English each had two. Seniors Hendricks and Bryce Clay each added one goal for the Rangers, who entered the postseason as the top-ranked team in Division 2.

It was the third straight year the two schools played for the Division 2 title, with the Pioneers winning last year and the Rangers picking up the 2016 title. Central had defeated East Grand Rapids, 14-7, earlier this season.

“They executed a little bit more (today),” Shira said. “Everything they did today, we’ve seen on film. We just didn’t execute as much as them. We had our chances, but they’re an excellent team, very well coached.”

The championship was the fifth for East Grand Rapids (19-4), which also won titles from 2007-09 and again last year.

Click for the full scoring summary.

VIDEO: East Grand Rapids’ Chris Owens scores the game-winner in overtime.

PHOTOS: (Top) East Grand Rapids celebrates its Division 2 championship game win. (Middle) EGR and Forest Hills Central players battle for possession.

Representative Council Approves Limited Regional Seeding in Girls Lacrosse at Fall Meeting

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

December 9, 2022

The addition of limited seeding at the Regional level of the Girls Lacrosse Tournament headlined actions taken by the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association during its Fall Meeting on Dec. 2 in East Lansing.

Generally, the Council takes only a few actions during its Fall Meeting, with topics often introduced for additional consideration and action during its meetings in winter and spring. This Fall Meeting saw the Council take only three actions, with additional discussion centered on topics expected to receive more specific consideration at MHSAA sport committee meetings this winter and the Council’s meetings in March and May.

The Council approved a Girls Lacrosse Committee proposal to seed the top two teams in every Regional, and place those top seeds on opposite sides of the bracket beginning with the 2023 season. The two teams to be seeded will be determined by using the MHSAA’s Michigan Power Ratings (MPR) formula, which takes into account success and strength of schedule and is used currently to provide seeding information in boys lacrosse, girls and boys basketball, girls and boys soccer, and ice hockey. Only the top two teams in girls lacrosse will be seeded and separated; the other teams in each Regional will be placed on their brackets by random draw.

The Council also approved a Boys Lacrosse Committee recommendation that will allow athletes to participate in up to five quarters per day between teams at multiple levels – for example, varsity and junior varsity – also beginning with the 2023 season. For boys lacrosse multi-team tournaments, if two school teams (for example, the varsity and junior varsity) are at the same event, athletes may play in no more halves or quarters than what is being played by the school’s highest-level team that day. (Example: if the varsity team is playing three 30-minute half games for a total of six halves, a player playing both varsity and JV on the same day can play in six total halves that day.) The “fifth quarter” rule, by allowing athletes to compete on two levels on the same day, is intended to help programs that are otherwise lacking enough participants to field teams at multiple levels.

Taking into account the wintery weather conditions experienced by athletes during the MHSAA alpine ski season, the Council approved a Sports Medicine Advisory Committee recommendation to adopt the “MHSAA Competition and Practice Guidelines for Cold Weather,” which are specific to alpine skiing. The guidelines include a windchill chart and cold standards for ambient temperature. This proposal also was supported by the Ski Committee and will go into effect for the 2022-23 season.

Remaining discussions focused on results from this fall’s Update Meeting survey completed by administrators during the MHSAA’s annual presentations across the state. The Council considered survey data including on questions related to the out-of-season travel rule. The Council also discussed results of a fall survey completed by member school athletic directors and head varsity football coaches concerning ongoing conversations about scheduling and playoff format. Following the Football Committee meeting in January 2023, an ad hoc committee comprised of members of the MHSAA staff, Representative Council, Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) and Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) will be convened for further discussion on these topics, with their report to be provided to the Council during its March 2023 meeting.

The Fall Meeting saw the appointment of Westland John Glenn athletic director Jason Malloy for a first-two-year term to the 19-person Council, and the re-appointment of Bay City Western principal Judy Cox for a second two-year term. Malloy previously was appointed to finish a partial term as one of the two representatives of member junior high/middle schools.

The Council reelected Scott Grimes, superintendent for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, as its president; and Vic Michaels, director of physical education and athletics for the Archdiocese of Detroit, as secretary-treasurer. Brighton High School athletic director John Thompson was elected Council vice president.

The Representative Council is the legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five members are elected by member schools. Four members are appointed by the Council to facilitate representation of females and minorities, and the 19th position is occupied by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.