Rockford Completes Drive for 5 Straight

June 10, 2017

By Perry A. Farrell
Special for Second Half

BRIGHTON – Rockford girls lacrosse coach Mike Emery has built a dynasty in Division 1, and Saturday’s 17-7 championship victory at Brighton High School over Birmingham United made it five straight MHSAA titles for the program.

Get ready for more. The Rams (20-2) dressed just three seniors: Zina Emery, Sisely Vongphasouk, who scored a goal in the second half, and Samantha DeBoer – meaning they’ll be Ram tough again next season.

“All year long it has really been this way,’’ Emery said. “We lost a ton of kids last year and some kids that are making some great strides at local universities and in the Big Ten and other places. We loaded up, and we started eight freshmen and sophomores today. We’ve been dominant all season, and these kids are awesome.’’

Birmingham’s lone bright spots were junior Meryl Feys, who scored four goals, and Grace Murray who had two.

Rockford’s Brooklyn Neumen started the scoring with an unassisted goal at the 22:27 mark of the first half.

“We knew that it was going to be very hot, so we made sure that we stayed hydrated,’’ said Neumen. “We wanted to get ahead to start because we wanted to make sure the midfielders had a rest. We executed our gameplan, and I thought that was our best game of the season. We’re a lot younger than last year, but we have a lot of talent. The freshmen and sophomores that have come up play like veterans. It’s fun because we have played with them since elementary school.”

Seconds after Neumen’s goal, teammate Isabelle Holmes made it 2-0 with a blast from in front of the goal. Neumen scored her second goal at the 20:33 mark to make 3-0.

A minute later Karrington VanderMolen scored the Rams’ fourth goal as they began to pull away.

Murray finally found the net for Birmingham (13-10) to cut the lead to 4-1 at the 17:17 mark.

Rockford’s Margaret Hammer made it a four-goal deficit again with her first goal of the game.

“It was Hammer Time, and she came to play,’’ said Emery.

Said Hammer: “We work really hard together, and we support each other and never give up. We have each other’s back and we’re well-bonded. I feel like we’ll be strong next year too.’’

VanderMolen tacked on her second goal to increase the lead to 6-1. Neumen scored her third to make it 7-1, forcing Birmingham coach Jen Dunbar to call a timeout to regroup.

Sydney Zimmerman got in on the scoring to make it 8-1 for the powerful Rams. Feys finally ended the drought for Birmingham with 12:53 left in the half to make it 8-2, but Hammer nailed home her second goal to increase the lead to 9-2.

Hammer made it back-to-back goals to put the eventual winners ahead, 10-2, forcing another timeout by Dunbar.

Mekenzie VanderMolen made it 11-2 with a full 9:10 left in the first half. Hammer’s fourth goal made it 12-2 and started a running clock.

Karrington VanderMolen started the second half with her third goal to make it 13-2. Hammer contributed her fifth, and the rest of the game was just a formality with the running clock and a 12-goal lead.

For good measure, Neumen picked up her fourth goal to make it 15-2.

“I started to get this feeling early in the season when we played East Grand Rapids, and we had a running clock against them and then we played Forest Hills and we got a running clock on them,” she said. “I felt like we could make it to the state championship and win it.’’

Click for the full scoring summary.

PHOTOS: (Top) Rockford’s girls lacrosse team celebrates during its Division 1 championship victory Saturday. (Middle) The Rams’ Brooklyn Neumen works to create an opening in Birmingham’s defense.

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

By Geoff Kimmerly 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.