By Perry A. Farrell
Special for Second Half
NOVI – Less than a minute into Saturday’s Division 2 Girls Lacrosse Final at Novi High School, East Grand Rapids began to assert its dominance against Bloomfield Hills Marian.
And playing a flawless, turnover-free first half, the Pioneers piled up 18 goals on the way to a resounding 22-7 victory to clinch their sixth championship in eight years.
The Pioneers (24-2) had won five straight titles before losing to Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood in the 2017 championship game and not making the Finals last season.
EGR’s high-powered offense scored at least 20 goals in each of its six tournament games this spring.
“We had five really strong seniors, and we had five freshmen come in,’’ said coach Rich Axtell. “It’s a real mixture of age and youth. Last year, we had pretty much the same lineup, but some freshmen have come up and really made a difference.’’
Seniors Mary Schumar (six goals) and Audrey Whiteside (five) led the first-half onslaught as EGR built a 14-goal lead. Both finished with seven goals and were taken out of the game with more than five minutes to play.
“We wanted it so much this year for the seniors,’’ said Whiteside. “I was a freshman when we won it (2016). Mary and I have worked well together. They put me on attack so I could work with Mary so we could get more points. I love working with her. We work together on the draw, and it just came together so well this year.’’
Said Axtell: “Audrey and Mary are once-in-a-decade type of players. Between the two of them, they have 350 points this season. They had an amazing year.’’
The Pioneers wasted little time scoring, as Whiteside found the net the first time 50 seconds into the game for a 1-0 lead. Thirteen seconds later, Schumar scored to make it 2-0. Whiteside quickly scored her second goal and the Pioneers were rolling, up three goals with Marian failing to put together an offensive rush. Schumar followed suit, scoring 38 seconds later to put the Mustangs in a 4-0 hole.
Mia Hannawa finally got the Mustangs on the board with her first goal to trim the deficit to three. Maura Mustion scored for Marian (20-2) to stem the tide and get the Mustangs back into the game at 4-2.
EGR got a goal from Caroline Grin with 19:22 left in the first half to go ahead 5-2. Josie Mehney scored seconds later as the Pioneers extended their lead. Whiteside scored her third of the game to make it 7-2. Schumar scored her third on a penalty power-play shot to make it 8-2 while Marian was a player short.
Sophie Forstner made it 9-2 for the eventual winners with a power-play goal, and Marian coach Sherry Elliott was forced to call a timeout with her team reeling. Schumar scored her fourth, and the rout was on as the Pioneers surged ahead 10-2. Schumar’s fifth goal made it 11-2 with 15:04 still left in the first half.
Coco Chinonis finally ended the Pioneers’ scoring run with a goal to make it 11-3.
Anna Knuble, Whiteside and Lizzie Lundeen scored the next three goals for EGR as they took a 14-3 lead, and Whiteside tacked on her fifth as the Pioneers never let up in taking a 15-3 lead.
Schumar’s sixth increased it to 16-3 as the Mustangs had no answer for the East Grand Rapids fast-paced offense.
“We wanted it so much this year because we have five seniors,’’ said Schumar. “We needed this. In the first half I think our defense was unbeatable. We have one of the fastest defenders in Olivia Grogan. Anna Knuble is really good. She’s just a junior, and she’s going to have a big senior year.’’
Lundeen scored her second goal and Paige Leistra got on the board as the 18-3 lead produced a running clock.
Marian finally challenged EGR goalie Lily Kate Rogers, but the senior came up with three saves. Schumar tacked on her seventh goal to make it 21-5 as time and Marian’s hopes were running out.
“We lose five seniors, but we have lots of talent coming back,’’ said Marian coach Sherry Elliott. “I see big things for us, and I see some young ones coming up.’’
PHOTOS: (Top) East Grand Rapids' Audrey Whiteside (24) fires a shot at the Marian net Saturday. (Middle) Mary Schumar (12) and Marian's Coco Chinonis battle for position.
Bloomfield Hills advanced to the Division 1 Semifinals this spring with one of the highest-scoring lineups in MHSAA girls lacrosse history, and one of its most accomplished goalies.
The Black Hawks scored 325 goals – sixth-most on the list – in going 19-4. Ella Lucia, then a junior, posted 17 single-game record entries for goals, assists or points, finishing with 125 goals, 59 assists and 184 points and pushing her career numbers to 186 goals, 113 assists and 299 points over three seasons.
Teammate Ilana Watson, a senior this spring, was added eight times for single-game accomplishments and also for 71 goals, 64 assists and 135 points for the season and 102 assists and 205 points over her two-season career. Goalie Sydney Butler, now a senior, made the single-season saves list with 186 and the career list with 466 over her first three seasons. Marlee Watson, who also graduated in the spring, was added for seven goals in a game.
See below for more recent record book updates for girls lacrosse:
On April 25, 2022, Holland West Ottawa then-senior Ella Spooner scored 13 of her team’s 16 goals against Zeeland. Those 13 goals tied for fourth-most in one game and also placed her on the single-game points list. She is playing at Kalamazoo College.
Troy Athens’ Claire Balintfy piled up eight record book entries during her sophomore season in 2022. A goalie, she posted a career-high 22 saves to tie for eighth on the single-game list, on which she appears six more times. Her 231 saves over 18 games that season rank second on that list as well.
Lexie Springman took 12 shots and made eight in Portage’s 19-9 win over Grand Ledge on April 5. She was a senior at Portage Central and is continuing at Regis University in Colorado.
Haslett/Williamston’s Abby Russell opened her high school career March 22 with a record book-worthy performance. The Haslett now-sophomore made the single-game goals list with seven in her team’s 10-9 loss at Portage.
Okemos’ Bridget Cox was a sophomore during the 2021 season when she earned her first four record book entries. She made the single-game saves list three times with a high of 16, and totaled 157 saves over 18 games total.
Holly/Ortonville Brandon tallied three single-game entries this past season. Junior Dakota Pinson made the single-game goals list with 10 against Fenton/Linden on May 4. Junior teammate Lainey Lasky made the same list twice with seven goals both times, against Flushing on May 3 and Lake Fenton/Goodrich on May 16.
Through three seasons, Salem’s Mileena Cotter has earned 35 record book entries – including setting the single-game record with 18 goals April 6 against Saline. Her 123 goals over just 10 games this past season rank seventh, and her 257 goals over 30 career games rank ninth on that list. Her career-high 19 points on April 5 against Dexter rank second for points in a game. She’s committed to sign with Syracuse.
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep junior Emily Szalach earned a record book entry with her 11 goals against Warren Regina on May 15 during a 13-12 triple-overtime win. It was the first entry for NDP for girls lacrosse.
Lake Orion’s Quinn McElroy capped her three-season varsity career this spring with eight record book listings, including for 69 goals and 100 points over 16 games as a senior, and 172 goals and 224 points for her career. Teammate Morgan Vasquez made single-season lists with 66 goals and 81 points, as did Amelia Guccione with 50 goals. Ava Adkins joined McElroy and Vasquez with single-game qualifiers, hers for 15 saves in a game against Troy Athens on April 12. Vasquez is a senior and Guccione a junior this school year, and Adkins also graduated this spring. McElroy is playing at Grand Valley State.
A pair of Detroit Cass Tech senior standouts made single-game and season scoring lists this spring. Taylor Weston made the single-game goals list three times, with a high of eight, and for her 64 goals total over 15 games; she also earned a listing for her 53 goals as a junior in 2022. Teammate Kayla Carroll-Williams made the single-game list twice, both for scoring seven goals, and the single-season list for 62 goals over 15 games.
PHOTO Bloomfield Hills goalie Sydney Butler, center, prepares to stop a shot against Bloomfield Hills Marian on May 11. (Photo by Susan Adams Photography.)