By John Johnson
MHSAA communications director
Plans have been finalized for broadcasting live streaming video of Lacrosse Regional Semifinals at two sites next week on MHSAA.tv.
On Tuesday (May 26), the Division 2-Region 6 Boys Lacrosse Semifinal games at Okemos High School will be streamed live, with DeWitt (11-6) facing Haslett/Williamston (9-9) in the opening game at 5:30 p.m. followed by the host Okemos Chiefs (14-2) taking on Portage Northern (13-7) in the nightcap at 7.
Then Wednesday (May 27), the Division 1-Region 4 Girls Lacrosse Semifinal games at Lake Orion High School will be televised, with Midland Dow (12-0) vs. Hartland (11-5) in the first game at 5:30 p.m. and the second game featuring Lake Orion (11-4) against Waterford Kettering (2-10-1) at 7 p.m.
The games at Okemos feature the top three seeded teams in the region. Top-ranked Okemos will be facing fifth-seeded Northern for the first time this season, while second-seeded Haslett/Williamston and third-seeded DeWitt will be playing for the third time. DeWitt won each of the first two games by a single goal.
Hartland and Midland Dow are the fifth and seventh-ranked teams, respectively, in Division 2 Laxpower.com rankings. None of the four girls semifinalists have squared off against each other this season.
The games are being produced by MHSAA members participating in the School Broadcast Program. The games at Okemos will be produced by Haslett High School, and the games at Lake Orion will be covered by Davison High School.
The games are available live and for the following 72 hours on a subscription basis on MHSAA.tv, and are part of a promotion allowing subscribers to follow three weekends of MHSAA spring tournament action with a special all-access pass being offered by the NFHS Network.
Between now and June 15, the NFHS Network is offering its Month Pass for just $9.95, 33 percent off the normal retail price. The pass will provide access to more than 100 hours of live programming of spring Finals. Click here to take advantage of this offer.
Finals coverage begins on May 30, with live coverage of the running events at the MHSAA Track & Field Finals. Here’s the complete spring Finals live streaming schedule:
- May 30 – Track Finals – Running events – Rockford (L.P. Div. 1), Zeeland (L.P. Div. 2), Comstock Park (L.P. Div. 3, Hudsonville (L.P. Div. 4), Kingsford (U.P.) – Coverage begins at 10 a.m.
- June 6 – Lacrosse Finals – Rockford (Girls), TBA (Boys – Games will be at Troy Athens, Howell or East Grand Rapids – Site announced after Semifinals) – Two games at each site, coverage begins at 2 p.m.
- June 11-13 – Baseball-Softball Semifinals & Finals – Michigan State University – Four games in each sport-each day, coverage begins at 9 a.m. each day
- June 12-13 – L.P. Girls Soccer Finals – Michigan State University – Two games each day, beginning at 1 p.m.
Plans for other pre-Finals event coverage by SBP schools is pending. Coverage will be announced as arrangements are confirmed.
The School Broadcast Program, powered by PlayOn! Sports, is a platform which schools can utilize to reach members of their community about activities taking place in their buildings, providing recognition for students while at the same time giving them hands-on opportunities to gain broadcasting experience and providing schools an opportunity to realize additional revenues for their programs. Schools interested in becoming a part of the School Broadcast Program should contact John Johnson at the MHSAA Office.
Alyssa Shaver has made a habit of getting women’s lacrosse programs off the ground.
Her first year in the sport was the first year of the program at Flint Carman-Ainsworth. Her collegiate career involved playing in the inaugural seasons for both University of Detroit Mercy and Lawrence Tech University.
As a coach, she led the first team at Urbana University in Ohio.
When she left Urbana for Lincoln Memorial University, a Division II program in Tennessee, she had an opportunity to take over an established – albeit still relatively new – program.
Two years in, another chance to start a program arose, and she once again stepped up.
However, this was not a different school – but in a different sport.
The 2008 Carman-Ainsworth graduate recently finished her third year in charge of the LMU women’s lacrosse program, and is now preparing for Year 2 in charge of the women’s field hockey program at the school – coaching a sport she had never played and rarely seen.
“I had not watched ‘Ted Lasso’ but when people figured out what I was doing, they told me about it,” Shaver said. “Last fall I started watching it and I was like, ‘Oh God, this is my life right now.’”
Starting with a new sport was how Shaver’s athletic career got jump-started in the first place.
She was a volleyball, basketball and softball player prior to high school, but when her basketball coach brought up the idea of starting a lacrosse program at Carman-Ainsworth, she decided to give it a try. The connection was almost immediate.
“I didn’t know what (lacrosse) was,” she said. “But I put a stick in my hand, and it felt like the most natural thing. I was a point guard in basketball, and I had played basketball since I could walk. I think in lacrosse, the footwork, defense, concepts and ideas are similar to basketball. But when I picked up a stick, it was like, ‘I get to carry this ball around? I don’t have to dribble it?’ From there, it kind of clicked.”
Shaver was a remarkable scorer at Carman-Ainsworth, racking up 226 goals during her four-year career. That included 81 goals her senior season.
While at Carman-Ainsworth, she also continued playing basketball and volleyball.
“As a point guard in basketball, I didn’t really care about scoring,” she said. “In lacrosse, I was really good at offense and scoring. I was a setter in volleyball, so my other sports I was always setting other people up.”
Her success at Carman-Ainsworth and at the club level led to an opportunity to play for U-D Mercy’s new program, led by coach Mary Ann Meltzer. Shaver was an academic all-conference selection during her time there and played for two years before coming back home.
While she was no longer playing, she continued to coach, something she had started while a freshman at Mercy.
It was while coaching a club team that the opportunity to return to playing at Lawrence Tech presented itself.
“It was terrifying,” Shaver said of returning to the game after two years away. “I would play in summer league, and I always had a stick in my hand because I was coaching, but I hadn’t really played competitively. I was 23 and most of my teammates were 18-year-old freshmen. I always joke with them now – some of them are my best friends – but the first couple years, they didn’t want to talk with me and I thought they didn’t like me. It turns out, they were scared of me.”
Shaver played three seasons at Lawrence Tech, earning All-America honorable mention from the National Women’s Lacrosse League in 2014 and first-team NWLL All-America honors in 2015 and 2016. She also was named an All-American by the NAIA as a senior.
Prior to her third season, with Lawrence Tech in need of a coach, Shaver reached out to Meltzer, who had recently retired from U-D Mercy. The two were reunited at LTU, and Shaver and her teammates reaped the benefits, reaching the NWLL championship game, which they lost 9-8 in overtime. Shaver was the NWLL National Offensive Player of the Year.
In 2017, with Shaver on the coaching staff, Lawrence Tech advanced to the NAIA national title game.
“She’s pretty much responsible for a lot of our program at Lawrence Tech,” Meltzer said. “She was the driving force in recruiting kids. She had taken a couple years off, and I think when she came here she was that responsible and was kind of the go-getter in getting players and getting people interested in LTU for quite a while. Fortunately, we’ve done well.”
In 2018, Shaver took over at Lourdes (Ohio), leading the program to its first winning season in her first year.
After two years at Lourdes, she took over Urbana, building the program from scratch. She took over the LMU program prior to the 2021 season. The Lady Railsplitters were 2-5 her first season, but have gone 12-7 and 10-9 in the two seasons since.
Shaver taking over the field hockey program alongside her lacrosse duties wasn’t the original plan. But after things fell through with the coach originally hired for the job, and with some of her lacrosse players signed on to play both as well, the LMU administration turned to her.
“I have a lot of experience with new programs with lacrosse, and the girls were so great and super appreciative,” she said. “My lacrosse players have some experience, and a lot of the field hockey girls were just awesome and understanding, and helping me learn.”
Shaver is learning the game and was able to get some help from volunteer assistant Khotsofalo Pheko, a former runner at LMU who played field hockey in South Africa before coming to Tennessee.
Meltzer has faith in her former player to navigate all of it and find success, even if she told Shaver she was crazy for taking on the field hockey job initially.
“Obviously she has the work ethic, and she’s going to do what she needs to do to be successful,” Meltzer said. “As coaches, especially younger coaches, when things aren’t going well they think that more is better when sometimes less is better. I think she just needs to be patient; we all do. That’s the biggest thing. With her, starting so many programs – we’re all competitive, we all want to be successful really quick – it is going to take time.
“She’s an incredible person. She has a heart of gold.”
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PHOTOS (Top) At left, Alyssa Shaver takes the field for Flint Carman-Ainsworth, and at right she coaches at Lincoln Memorial University. (Middle) Shaver just finished her third season leading LMU women's lacrosse. (Below) Shaver (bottom row, fifth from left) was a four-year player at Carman-Ainsworth, including on this 2007 team. (Photos courtesy of Alyssa Shaver and Lincoln Memorial's athletic department.)