By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The favorites will be familiar and the challengers are on their way heading into Saturday’s Girls Lacrosse Finals at Novi High School.
Division 1 top-ranked Rockford and Division 2 top-ranked East Grand Rapids have won a combined 12 MHSAA Finals titles, and even shared their league championship this spring. But Brighton will play in its fourth Division 1 championship game, and second straight, while Marian is back on the final day of the season for the third time.
The Division 2 Final will be played at 2 p.m., followed by Division 1 at 4:30. Both will be broadcast on MHSAA.tv, available with subscription, with audio available on MHSAANetwork.com. Click for more information, including all tournament results.
Below is a look at all four contenders, with player statistics through Regional Finals unless noted.
Record/rank: 16-7-1, No. 4 at end of regular season
League finish: Third in Kensington Lakes Activities Association
Coach: Ashton Peters, second season (24-7-1)
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2011, runner-up 2018 and 2010.
Best wins: 12-10 over No. 3 Hartland in Semifinal, 21-4 (Regional Semifinal) and 17-10 over No. 10 Novi, 14-7 over No. 7 Northville, 15-10 over No. 6 Birmingham United, 11-10 (Regional Final) and 12-9 over No. 5 Ann Arbor Pioneer.
Players to watch: Riley Browne, jr. M/D; Cat Kophcia, jr A; Jenna Miodonski, sr. G. (Statistics not submitted.)
Outlook: Brighton certainly earned its way back to the championship game, defeating a number of opponents ranked just below it throughout the season and then avenging two earlier losses with the Semifinal win over Hartland. The Bulldogs have given up single-digit goals in 12 games, and Brown recently was name all-state first team with Kophcia making the second.
Record/rank: 14-5-1, No. 1 at end of regular season
League finish: Tied for first in Ottawa-Kent Conference Tier 1
Coach: Mike Emery, 12th season (214-48-7)
Championship history: Division 1 champions 2010, 2013-18.
Best wins: 20-6 (Semifinal) and 20-3 over No. 6 Birmingham United, 16-8 (Regional Final), 15-5 and 13-8 over No. 2 Grand Rapids Forest Hills United, 13-12 over Division 2 No. 1 East Grand Rapids.
Players to watch: Karrington Vander Molen, sr. A/M (34 goals, 7 assists); Sydney Zimmerman, jr. M (43 goals, 16 assists); Isabelle Holmes, sr. A (24 goals, 34 assists); Madelyn Yakes, jr. G (.429 save percentage); Madison Kleefisch, jr. D/M (17 goals, 3 assists). (Statistics through 15 games.)
Outlook: The Rams will play for their seventh consecutive Division 1 championship with a number of familiar faces from title runs of the recent past. Vander Molen, Zimmerman, Holmes, Yakes and Kleefisch have made the all-state first team, while senior defenders Anna Glynn and Shae Strehl made the second and junior defender Bailey Banfield made the second team in 2018. Rockford also has given up single-digit goals in 12 games, including all four of the postseason. Four of the losses and the tie came to teams from Illinois or Ohio.
BLOOMFIELD HILLS MARIAN
Record/rank: 20-1, No. 2 at end of regular season
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League
Coach: Sherry Elliott, third season (48-10)
Championship history: Division 1 runner-up 2009 and 2015.
Best wins: 15-13 over No. 4 Okemos in Semifinal, 17-16 (OT) over No. 8 Farmington in Regional Final, 18-9 (Regional Quarterfinal) and 18-14 over No. 3 Detroit Country Day, 16-13 and 12-10 over No. 6 Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, 20-10 over No. 10 Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 11-10 over Division 1 No. 6 Birmingham United, 15-12 over Division 1 No. 5 Ann Arbor Pioneer, 16-6 over Division 1 No. 4 Brighton, 15-13 and 18-2 over Division 1 No. 9 Troy.
Players to watch: Mia Hannawa, jr. M (54 goals, 4 assists); Amanda Timmis, jr. M (37 goals, 13 assists), Coco Chinonis, soph. A (77 goals, 13 assists); Anna Reaume, sr. D; Eliana Delusky, soph. G (.460 save percentage).
Outlook: Marian made it into the season’s final week for the first time since its 2015 runner-up season, its only loss this spring in the second of a three-game series with Cranbrook and by just one goal. Hannawa and Reaume recently were named to the all-state first team, while Delusky and Timmis made the second and Chinonis earned honorable mention. Marian has shown it can pull out a close game, going 8-1 in those decided by four goals or fewer. Junior attack Tessy Klein had added another 43 goals and 12 assists entering the week.
EAST GRAND RAPIDS
Record/rank: 23-2, No. 1 at end of regular season
League finish: Tied for first in Ottawa-Kent Conference Tier 1
Coach: Rich Axtell, 10th season (195-33)
Championship history: Division 2 champions 2012-16, runner-up 2017.
Best wins: 24-6 (Semifinal), 25-2 and 19-5 over No. 6 Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood; 20-3 (Regional Final), 18-8 and 22-4 over No. 7 Grand Rapids Christian; 25-7 (Regional Semifinal), 24-4 and 16-6 over No. 10 Grand Rapids Catholic Central; 23-9 over No. 5 Mattawan, 12-8 over Division 1 No. 1 Rockford, 20-13 and 15-4 over Division 1 No. 2 Grand Rapids Forest Hills United, 18-7 over Division 1 No. 3 Hartland, 15-6 over Division 1 No. 4 Brighton.
Players to watch: Mary Schumar, sr. A (87 goals, 53 assists); Emily Bergstrom, sr. D; Olivia Grogan, jr. D; Audrey Whiteside, sr. A (131 goals, 52 assists); Lily Kate Rogers, sr. G (5.3 goals-against average, .410 save percentage).
Outlook: After missing the Finals for the first time in six seasons last spring, East Grand Rapids has stormed back with losses this year only to Rockford by a goal (a defeat since avenged) and New Trier, Illinois. Whiteside’s goal total ranks fourth all-time, and she needed just one more goal to tie for third. But she and Schumar hardly are the only offensive stars, with seven players total scoring at least 22 goals entering the week and five tallying at least 13 assists. Junior Anna Knuble is next on the leaderboard in both with 42 goals and 21 assists. Whiteside, Schumar, Grogan and Rogers made the all-state first team, and Bergstrom made the second.
PHOTO: Rockford’s Sydney Zimmerman carries the ball and considers her options during last season’s Division 1 Final win over Brighton.
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.)