Performance: Bloomfield Hills' Andrew Zhang

October 19, 2017

Andrew Zhang
Bloomfield Hills junior – Tennis

Zhang moved up to No. 1 singles this season after claiming the No. 2 championship at last season’s Lower Peninsula Division 1 Finals, and he hasn’t missed a beat. The Black Hawks’ top player won his Regional last week, defeating Clarkston standout Luke Baylis 6-0, 6-4, in the No. 1 championship match to earn the Michigan Army National Guard “Performance of the Week.” He has only one loss this fall as he enters this weekend’s Finals the second seed in his flight.

In addition to Zhang’s win at No. 2 singles last year, he also finished runner-up at that flight as a freshman in 2015 in helping Bloomfield Hills to a shared team championship. The Black Hawks finished runner-up last season, two points behind winner Ann Arbor Huron, but entered this postseason as the top-ranked team in the state coaches association poll. Zhang’s lone defeat this fall came to Troy’s Steve Forman, the reigning LPD1 champion at No. 1 singles and the top seed in their bracket this weekend at the Midland Tennis Center. Zhang also had faced Baylis (this weekend’s fourth seed at No. 1) in last season’s Finals championship match and two more times earlier this fall before last week’s Regional.

Zhang is a highly-regarded college prospect nationally and could’ve chosen to not play high school tennis – but noted that he “loves the team aspect of it; our team is so fun, we do all of these outside activities and tennis is just a great time to have a bunch of teammates outside supporting you.” He’s not sure where he’ll continue after high school, but he also carries a 3.95 grade-point average and is considering studying something in the medical fields or business when that time comes – after working for another championship this weekend and playing another season of high school tennis in 2018.

Performance Point: “It was just a great match overall,” Zhang said of facing Baylis at the Regional. “I thought at the beginning I played a little more solidly than he did. It was 3-0 in the first set and it started to sprinkle a little, and it got a little dark outside so we moved it indoors. I thought Luke’s game overall suits indoor better than being outdoors, and the match was way more competitive after the first set. I was actually pretty worried because last year during leagues, it rained that day, and we had to move indoors and it was my only loss (of last season).”

Game changer: “I’m really trying to work on my aggressive game and making my serves a lot bigger than normal. A problem last year was that a lot of people were attacking my serve, so I’ve been trying to add speed to it, add consistency to it. Overall my defensive game has been one of my strongest parts, my counter punching, so my coach and I are trying to play a more aggressive game. In a way I like both – even though playing defensive tennis and counter punching tennis is more exhausting than playing offense, I feel more confident right now playing defense. The offset is offensive tennis gets a lot more free points and you’re not as tired at the end of a match. So in the long run I’m going to keep on trying to build my aggressive tennis game, so hopefully in future tournaments that go longer, a week long, I’ll have more energy as I progress through the tournament.”

Familiar faces: “I definitely think rivalries form (from seeing the same players during high school and USTA seasons). Everyone’s very competitive. Everyone is trying to be the best out there. Usually the top people in the Midwest play in the top Midwest tournaments, play in the Midwest finals, and everyone is trying to be the best they can. I do look forward to (seeing those players in high school). It gives me a great time to work on my shots and be competitive, and to play a guy like Forman again – I just had a loss to him, and it gives me motivation.”

Solving the puzzle: “I just love this sport. I just really enjoy that it’s just you on the court. There’s no coaching in between. It’s just you versus your opponent. You have to figure out ways to dissect your opponent’s game, figure out how to beat him.”

Rafa Respect: “I really love Rafael Nadal. I love how he puts 110 percent into every single match. And he never has a bad temperament. He’s pumped to play the game, but he’s one of the few people that hasn’t broken a racket yet. I think he respects the game a lot. He’s just a great person on and off the court.”

- Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Every week during the 2017-18 school year, Second Half and the Michigan Army National Guard will recognize a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.

The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom or protect lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster. 

Previous 2017-18 honorees:
October 12: Nolan Fugate, Grand Rapids Catholic Central football - Read
October 5: Marissa Ackerman, Munising tennis - Read
September 28: Minh Le, Portage Central soccer - Read
September 21: Olivia Theis, Lansing Catholic cross country - Read
September 14: Maddy Chinn, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep volleyball - Read

PHOTOS: (Top) Bloomfield Hills' Andrew Zhang returns a volley during last season's LPD1 Finals championship match at No. 2 singles. (Middle) Zhang celebrates his first MHSAA title. (Click to see more from

Lacrosse Finals Move to U-M Among Headlines as Spring Sports Ramp Up

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

April 9, 2024

The Girls & Boys Lacrosse Finals will be played at University of Michigan Lacrosse Stadium for the first time, one of the most notable changes for this season as sports ramp up for more than 100,000 athletes anticipated to participate this spring for Michigan High School Athletic Association member schools.

The MHSAA sponsors postseason competition each spring in baseball, girls and boys lacrosse, girls soccer, softball, girls and boys track & field, boys golf (Lower and Upper Peninsula) and girls golf (UP), and girls (LP) and boys (UP) tennis.

The U-M Lacrosse Stadium opened for competition in 2018 and seats 2,000 spectators. The Girls Lacrosse Finals will be played Friday, June 7, with Division 1 at 4 p.m. and Division 2 at 7 p.m. The Boys Lacrosse Finals will be played the following day, June 8, with Division 2 at 11 a.m. and Division 1 at 2 p.m.

Girls lacrosse also has a significant format adjustment this season, as games will be played with four 12-minutes quarters instead of the previous two halves, in part to allow coaches more opportunities to provide direct instruction during a game. Two more rules changes are expected to improve flow of play – players awarded a free position outside of the critical scoring area no longer must come to a stop and settled stance before self-starting, and false start penalties outside the critical scoring area have been eliminated.

Several more rules changes will be noticeable this spring:

In boys lacrosse, a change was made to enhance player safety. Play will stop immediately any time a player’s helmet comes off, and that player may not return until the next dead ball after play continues.

Fair and legal starts are a continued emphasis for track & field, and a rule change will allow for movement before the start of the race as long as a competitor does not leave their mark with a hand or a foot after the “set” command, or make forward motion before the starting device is activated.

A significant rule change in softball alters pitch delivery mechanics. The pitcher may now have both feet off the ground at the same time when releasing the ball as long as both feet remain within the 24-inch width of a pitching plate and the pitcher does not replant the pivot foot before delivering the pitch.

Another change in softball requires that a playbook/playcard be worn on the wrist or kept in a back pocket to reduce distractions. If worn by the pitcher, the equipment must be worn on the non-pitching arm. Similarly in baseball, a wristband with plays or instructions will be permitted but must be a single, solid color, and for pitchers may not contain the colors white or gray or be otherwise distracting. Baseball players must wear this wristband on the wrist or forearm, and pitchers may wear one only on their non-pitching arm.

Also in baseball, a rule change allows for one-way communication devices worn by the catcher to receive instructions from the dugout while on defense, for the purpose of calling pitches. The coach must be inside the dugout/bench area to use the communication device.

Golfers now are required to participate in at least four competitions for the high school team prior to representing that school team in an MHSAA Regional or Final. Those four regular-season competitions may be 9 or 18-hole events.

In tennis, for the first time in Lower Peninsula play, a No. 1 doubles flight from a non-qualifying team will be able to advance from its Regional to Finals competition. To do so, that No. 1 doubles flight must finish first or second at its Regional, and the No. 1 singles player from that team also must have qualified for the Finals individually by finishing first or second in Regional play.

On the soccer pitch, two officiating-related changes will be especially noticeable. Officials now may stop the clock to check on an injured player without that player being required to leave the match – previously that player would have to sub out. Also, categories for fouls have been redefined: careless (which is a foul but does not receive a card), reckless (a foul with a yellow card) and excessive force (foul with red card). 

The 2023-24 Spring campaign culminates with postseason tournaments, as the championship schedule begins with the Upper Peninsula Girls & Boys Golf and Boys Tennis Finals during the week of May 27 and wraps up with Girls Soccer, Baseball and Softball Finals on June 15. Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:

Districts – May 23-June 1
Regional Semifinals – June 5
Regional Finals, Quarterfinals – June 8
Semifinals – June 13-14
Finals – June 15

LP Boys Regionals – May 28-June 1
UP Girls & Boys Finals – May 29, 30, 31 or June 1
LP Boys Finals – June 7-8

Boys Lacrosse
Pre-Regionals – May 10-15
Regionals – May 16-29
Quarterfinals – May 31 or June 1
Semifinals – June 5
Finals – June 8

Girls Lacrosse
Pre-Regionals – May 16-18, or May 20
Regionals – May 22-June 1
Semifinals – June 5
Finals – June 7

Girls Soccer
Districts – May 22-June 1
Regionals – June 4-8
Semifinals – June 11-12
Finals – June 14-15

Districts – May 23-June 1
Regionals – June 8
Quarterfinals – June 11
Semifinals – June 13-14
Finals – June 15

LP Girls Regionals – May 15-18
UP Boys Finals – May 29, 30, 31 or June 1
LP Girls Finals – May 31-June 1

Track & Field
Regionals – May 16-18
Finals – June 1