Preview: Familiar Favorites Converging Again in Novi

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

June 11, 2021

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.

Both games will be broadcast and available with subscription from MHSAA.tv, with free audio broadcasts on the MHSAA Network.

Division 1

BRIGHTON
Record: 18-5-1
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.

ROCKFORD
Record: 14-4
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.

Division 2

BLOOMFIELD HILLS CRANBROOK KINGSWOOD
Record: 13-6
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
Record: 22-2
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.

Bloomfield Hills' Semifinal Run Powered By Scoring Skill, Talent in Net

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

September 29, 2023

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:

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.)