Rams Prove Too Tough Again in D1

June 7, 2014

By Butch Harmon
Special for Second Half 

ROCKFORD – Playing the final game of her high school lacrosse career, Rockford senior Meghan Datema was determined not to see another team celebrate winning an MHSAA title on her team’s home field.

Datema knew that feeling – but for the second year in a row it was Datema and her teammates who defended their home field and came away with a Division 1 lacrosse title. 

Thanks to a strong start and some stingy defense, the Rams won a second straight MHSAA Division 1 lacrosse championship as they defeated Ann Arbor Pioneer 16-7.

“In my sophomore year we lost in the state Semifinals,” Datema said. “The state (Final) was held here at Rockford and it was not a good feeling watching another team win the state title and celebrate on our home field. We were ready this year. We were focused, and we came out ready to play.” 

Rockford came out strong on both ends of the field as the Rams jumped to a 5-1 lead.

The two teams came into the match familiar with each other as Rockford edged Pioneer 10-9 earlier this year. So despite an early lead, the Rams knew it would not be an easy task putting the Pioneers away. 

Pioneer battled back and cut the Rams’ lead to 5-4 before Datema scored back-to-back goals to give her team a 7-4 advantage.

“We were missing a couple of girls the first time we played them,” Rockford coach Mike Emery said. “It was also the day before spring break, so it was getaway day. We had 22 turnovers that day. Today we had eight. We did a lot better job taking care of the ball and in possession today. Our defense also did a great job today. We didn’t allow them to score for most of the second half.” 

Rockford closed the first half up 13-5 after a 5-0 run. The Rams’ defense set the tone and carried the strong play into the second half.

Rockford upped its lead to 15-5 minutes after the break and held Pioneer scoreless until it added a pair of late goals. 

“Winning this title was real special,” Rockford senior defender Aimee Hite said. “We lost a lot of defenders throughout the season, so seeing how the defense came together and how strong they played was real exciting. We pretty much held them without a goal the entire second half.”

In goal, the Rams received a solid effort from junior goalkeeper Katie Elwell, who finished the game with nine saves. 

“This is just incredible,” Elwell said. “I never thought I would have this experience of winning it two years in a row. You just can’t describe this feeling. I’m so proud of all the players; we all just worked super hard.”

The Rams were paced on offense by Datema, who finished the game with five goals and one assist. Sophomore Alex Vandermolen added four goals. 

Datema and Vandermolen have been big offensive producers all season. Datema came into the title game with 58 goals, while Vandermolen entered with 50.

Senior Kyleigh Egnatuk also ended her career in a big way with three goals and an assist. 

“We worked very hard this season,” Egnatuk said. “We knew we had to put in a lot of work to get to where we wanted to be. Winning another state title was our main goal. We definitely knew how hard we had to work to do it again.”

Jumping to a lead was a key and something the Rams wanted to accomplish against a team they defeated by just one goal earlier this season. 

“I thought today we came out strong and focused,” Egnatuk said. “That showed when we came out and scored those five early goals. I thought in the first game that we played against them we had a lot more turnovers, and that was something we cleaned up today.”

Winning a second title also was more difficult. 

“It was definitely harder,” Egnatuk said. “It felt like we had a big target on our back all season.”

“It was so special to end the season on our home field winning a second state championship,” Datema added. “It was the perfect ending. Both of these state titles have been picture perfect. This one may have been more special because it was the last game of my career.”

Click for a full box score. 

PHOTOS: (Top) Rockford’s Alex Vandermolen (11) works to get past Ann Arbor Pioneer’s Mercedes Reyes during the Division 1 Final. (Middle) Rockford and Pioneer players scramble for a loose ball during the Rams’ 16-7 win.

Representative Council Approves Limited Regional Seeding in Girls Lacrosse at Fall Meeting

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

December 9, 2022

The addition of limited seeding at the Regional level of the Girls Lacrosse Tournament headlined actions taken by the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association during its Fall Meeting on Dec. 2 in East Lansing.

Generally, the Council takes only a few actions during its Fall Meeting, with topics often introduced for additional consideration and action during its meetings in winter and spring. This Fall Meeting saw the Council take only three actions, with additional discussion centered on topics expected to receive more specific consideration at MHSAA sport committee meetings this winter and the Council’s meetings in March and May.

The Council approved a Girls Lacrosse Committee proposal to seed the top two teams in every Regional, and place those top seeds on opposite sides of the bracket beginning with the 2023 season. The two teams to be seeded will be determined by using the MHSAA’s Michigan Power Ratings (MPR) formula, which takes into account success and strength of schedule and is used currently to provide seeding information in boys lacrosse, girls and boys basketball, girls and boys soccer, and ice hockey. Only the top two teams in girls lacrosse will be seeded and separated; the other teams in each Regional will be placed on their brackets by random draw.

The Council also approved a Boys Lacrosse Committee recommendation that will allow athletes to participate in up to five quarters per day between teams at multiple levels – for example, varsity and junior varsity – also beginning with the 2023 season. For boys lacrosse multi-team tournaments, if two school teams (for example, the varsity and junior varsity) are at the same event, athletes may play in no more halves or quarters than what is being played by the school’s highest-level team that day. (Example: if the varsity team is playing three 30-minute half games for a total of six halves, a player playing both varsity and JV on the same day can play in six total halves that day.) The “fifth quarter” rule, by allowing athletes to compete on two levels on the same day, is intended to help programs that are otherwise lacking enough participants to field teams at multiple levels.

Taking into account the wintery weather conditions experienced by athletes during the MHSAA alpine ski season, the Council approved a Sports Medicine Advisory Committee recommendation to adopt the “MHSAA Competition and Practice Guidelines for Cold Weather,” which are specific to alpine skiing. The guidelines include a windchill chart and cold standards for ambient temperature. This proposal also was supported by the Ski Committee and will go into effect for the 2022-23 season.

Remaining discussions focused on results from this fall’s Update Meeting survey completed by administrators during the MHSAA’s annual presentations across the state. The Council considered survey data including on questions related to the out-of-season travel rule. The Council also discussed results of a fall survey completed by member school athletic directors and head varsity football coaches concerning ongoing conversations about scheduling and playoff format. Following the Football Committee meeting in January 2023, an ad hoc committee comprised of members of the MHSAA staff, Representative Council, Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) and Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) will be convened for further discussion on these topics, with their report to be provided to the Council during its March 2023 meeting.

The Fall Meeting saw the appointment of Westland John Glenn athletic director Jason Malloy for a first-two-year term to the 19-person Council, and the re-appointment of Bay City Western principal Judy Cox for a second two-year term. Malloy previously was appointed to finish a partial term as one of the two representatives of member junior high/middle schools.

The Council reelected Scott Grimes, superintendent for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, as its president; and Vic Michaels, director of physical education and athletics for the Archdiocese of Detroit, as secretary-treasurer. Brighton High School athletic director John Thompson was elected Council vice president.

The Representative Council is the legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five members are elected by member schools. Four members are appointed by the Council to facilitate representation of females and minorities, and the 19th position is occupied by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.