Preview: Girls Lacrosse Finals' Debut at U-M Just Start of Stories to be Told

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

June 6, 2024

Both of Friday’s MHSAA Girls Lacrosse Finals are filled with storylines, starting with their moves to a new day and a new home.

Contested Saturday in the past, the girls championship games will be played at 4 and 7 p.m. Friday and for the first time at University of Michigan Lacrosse Stadium.

Division 1 will lead off and feature two-time reigning champion Brighton against Rockford, the state record-holder with nine MHSAA Finals titles. Division 2 will match up one of the top single-season scorers in MHSAA history in Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s Claire Marosi against one of the leaders on the career goals list, Detroit Country Day’s Hadley Keating. She and the reigning champion Yellowjackets will take on an undefeated GRCC team led by a first-year coach who is making his third-straight Finals appearance.

Below is a glance at all four teams playing at U-M. Rankings as part of “best wins” are based on the Michigan Power Rating formula. Tickets cost $11 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.

Division 1

BRIGHTON
Record/MPR: 18-5, No. 3
League finish: Second in Kensington Lakes Activities Association West
Coach: Ashton Peters, sixth season (74-28-1)
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2023), four runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 14-10 over No. 9 Bloomfield Hills in Semifinal, 18-6 over No. 6 Novi in Regional Semifinal, 17-6 and 19-11 (Regional Final) over No. 4 Northville, 8-7 over No. 2 Hartland, 9-8 over Division 2 No. 7 East Grand Rapids, 15-8 over Division 2 No. 4 DeWitt.
Players to watch: Gabi Buckenberger, sr. G (7.1 goals-against average, 111 saves). Cecilia Mainhardt, sr. M (41 goals, 15 assists); Ella Toth, jr. A (46 goals, 17 assists); Georgia Gill, sr. A (73 goals, 35 assists).
Outlook: Brighton has won the last two Division 1 championships and will be playing in the title game for the sixth-straight season. There is a load of crunch-time experience, starting with repeat all-state first-team selections Buckenberger and Mainhardt and repeat second-team honoree Toth. Gill also made the second team this season, along with junior defenders Keelin Ehman and Nya Nemecek, with junior attack Sophia Heady (38 goals, 15 assists) making the third team and sophomore defender Abbey Kissel earning honorable mention. The Bulldogs did take a 10-5 loss to Rockford on April 20, with its other defeats to Division 2 finalists Detroit Country Day and Grand Rapids Catholic Central, East Grand Rapids and Illinois power Hinsdale Central.

ROCKFORD
Record/MPR: 13-7, No. 1
League finish: Second in Ottawa-Kent Conference Tier 1
Coach: Mark Neumen, third season (40-19)
Championship history: Nine MHSAA titles (most recent 2021).
Best wins: 10-8 over No. 2 Hartland in Semifinal, 10-5 over No. 3 Brighton, 12-8 and 12-10 over Division 2 No. 7 East Grand Rapids, 16-6 over Division 2 No. 10 Grand Rapids Northview.
Players to watch: Naomi Green, jr. D; Aubree Frazier, sr. A (47 goals, 11 assists); Ella Larva, soph. M (40 goals, 6 assists); Madison Pyle, sr. A (47 goals, 16 assists).
Outlook: Rockford is returning to the Final for the first time since its most recent championship season, and actually started this spring 0-2 before winning 13 of its next 14 in-state games. (Four other defeats came to Illinois teams, including one as well to Hinsdale Central.) The Rams avenged their season-opening loss to Spring Lake in the regular-season finale, with the other two in-state defeats to Grand Rapids Catholic Central. Green, Larva and Frazier have been named to the all-state first team, with Pyle making the second team and senior attack Hope Deuel (27 goals, 28 assists) earning honorable mention. Sophomore midfielder Brooke Gordon (21 goals, 12 assists) also has topped 20 goals, and junior goalie Gracelyn Hosford gives up only 9.73 per game.

Division 2

DETROIT COUNTRY DAY
Record/MPR: 17-3-1, No. 2
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Coach: Liz Nussbaum, first season (17-3-1)
Championship history: Division 2 champion 2023, runner-up 2022 and 2005.
Best wins: 13-6 over No. 5 Farmington Hills Mercy in Semifinal, 21-9 and 22-4 (Regional Final) over No. 6 Bloomfield Hills Marian, 21-7 over No. 7 East Grand Rapids, 10-9 over Division 1 No. 2 Hartland, 19-13 over Division 1 No. 4 Northville, 20-13 over Division 1 No. 3 Brighton.
Players to watch: Olivia Winowich, jr. M (41 goals, 17 assists); Mary Pavlou, jr. A (66 goals, 11 assists); Emma Arico, sr. M (32 goals, 18 assists); Hadley Keating, sr. A (76 goals, 18 assists).
Outlook: Country Day has been nearly as unstoppable as last season, when it lost only once. This time the Yellowjackets suffered two losses to Grand Rapids Catholic Central, another to Indian Hill (Ohio) and tied EGR all during the first month before winning their last 13 matchups.
Keating and Arico are repeat all-state first-team selections, and Keating will finish as one of the state’s all-time leading scorers. Junior defender Brooke Winowich, Olivia Winowich, Mary Pavlou and junior attack Georgia Pavlou (32 goals, 35 assists) all made the all-state second team, with senior defender Alessia Sessa selected to the third and senior midfielder Sadie Rifkin (36/6) earning an honorable mention.

GRAND RAPIDS CATHOLIC CENTRAL
Record/MPR: 22-0, No. 1
League finish: First in O-K Tier 1.
Coach: Joe Curcuru, first season (22-0)
Championship history: Division 2 champion 2011.
Best wins: 24-2 over No. 3 Haslett/Williamston in Semifinal, 14-10, 20-10 and 22-11 (Regional Quarterfinal) over No. 7 East Grand Rapids; 18-6 over No. 10 Grand Rapids Northview, 17-7 and 20-8 over No. 2 Detroit Country Day, 17-8 and 20-7 over Division 1 No. 1 Rockford, 14-13 over Division 1 No. 3 Brighton, 15-7 over Division 1 No. 9 Bloomfield Hills.
Players to watch: Cate Marshall, jr. M (66 goals, 37 assists); Brigid Byrne, sr. D; Sarah Rott, sr. A (68 goals, 40 assists); Claire Marosi, sr. M (152 goals, 32 assists).
Outlook: Curcuru came to Grand Rapids Catholic Central after three seasons and two straight Division 1 runner-up finishes with Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern/Eastern.
He’s elevated a Cougars varsity that finished just 7-9 a year ago but has beaten several of the contenders this spring in bringing a perfect record into this weekend. Marosi’s 152 goals are the third-most all-time for one season, and she, Byrne and Rott have made the all-state first team. Marshall and senior defender Emma Picarazzi have been selected to the second, with junior goalie Samaya Dean (6.76 GAA, 188 saves) making the third and sophomore midfielder Lily Engstrom (46 goals, 21 assists) and senior attack Payton Davis (15/32) earning honorable mentions. Junior attack Marin Ziegler (28/26) also adds scoring punch.

PHOTO Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s Sarah Rott (11) and Cate Marshall (1) celebrate Marshall’s goal during the first quarter of Wednesday’s Semifinal against Haslett/Williamston. (Photo courtesy of the Lansing State Journal.)

Performance of the Week: Grand Rapids Catholic Central's Claire Marosi

June 13, 2024

Claire Marosi headshotClaire Marosi ♦ Grand Rapids Catholic Central
Senior ♦ Lacrosse

The Cougars’ standout midfielder capped one of the highest-scoring seasons in MHSAA history with two goals and two assists as Grand Rapids Catholic Central edged Detroit Country Day in the Division 2 Final to win its first championship since 2011 and finish this season 23-0.

Marosi finished with 154 goals and 34 assists this spring; her goals rank third all-time for a single season and her 188 points were fourth-most on that list. She’ll continue her career at Northwestern, which finished NCAA Division I runner-up this year after winning the title in 2023. She's interested in studying communications. Marosi also played basketball and ran cross country as a senior, and previously ran track as well.

@mhsaasports 🥍POW: Claire Marosi #lacrosse #GRCC #letsgo #champion #goal #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

@mhsaasports 🥍POW: Claire Marosi #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #bridgerton #yoga #hearthands #emoji #car #rolos #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

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Past 2023-24 Honorees

June 6: Emmry Ross, Onsted track & field - Report
May 31:
Isaac Sturgess, Flint Powers Catholic baseball - Report
May 30:
Abby Russell, Allen Park track & field - Report 
May 23:
Isabel Thelen, St. Johns tennis - Report
May 16:
Ally Katinas, Novi lacrosse - Report
May 9:
Peter Roehl, Rochester Adams golf - Report
May 2:
Lilah Smith, Richland Gull Lake soccer - Report
April 25:
Mason Mayne, Lawton track & field - Report
April 18:
Alli Wright, Jenison softball - Report
April 11:
Chloe Wishart, Trenton soccer - Report
March 28:
Jenna Maki, Ishpeming basketball - Report
March 22:
Jaremiah Palmer, Niles Brandywine basketball - Report
March 15:
Leah Hodge, North Farmington gymnastics - Report
March 8:
Darius Marines, Detroit Catholic Central wrestling - Report
March 1:
Rylee Smith, Zeeland West bowling - Report
Feb. 22:
Caleb Lewandowski, Traverse City West skiing - Report
Feb. 15:
Jadin Mix, Onaway basketball - Report
Feb. 8:
Onalee Wallis, Cadillac skiing - Report
Feb. 1:
Abbey DeGraw, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek competitive cheer - Report
Jan. 25:
Ewan Todd, Riverview swimming - Report
Jan. 18:
Ashley Weller, Jackson Northwest basketball - Report
Jan. 11:
Michael Baldwin, Saginaw Arthur Hill wrestling - Report
Dec. 15:
Jena Fijolek, Fenton bowling - Report
Dec. 8:
Sophia Wagner, Escanaba gymnastics - Report
Dec. 1:
Isaiah Marshall, Southfield Arts & Technology football - Report
Nov. 24:
Sarah Bradley, Clarkston Everest Collegiate volleyball - Report
Nov. 17:
Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10:
Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27:
Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20:
Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13:
Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5:
Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29:
MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22:
Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15:
Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8:
Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1:
Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report

(Photo by Jamie McNinch/RunMichigan.com.)