Preview: Finalists Take Familiar Road
June 7, 2019
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.
State Champs! Michigan: Face Off Episode 7
May 18, 2023
Join Sean Baligian and Greg Durham for the seventh episode of STATE CHAMPS! Face Off for the 2023 Lacrosse Season.
Special Guest: Andrew Kransberger - Byron Center Lacrosse Coach