NOVI – Overcoming a canceled season in 2020, Rockford made it eight straight Division 1 lacrosse titles with a 19-16 victory over Brighton on Saturday at Novi High School.
Only last’s year break due to COVID-19 has interrupted the Rams’ near decade-long dominance – although the Bulldogs made a strong attempt as the teams met in the championship game for the third-straight season.
“This is just a special group of young ladies,’’ said Rockford coach Mike Emery. “They’ve been through so much with the off-field stuff, COVID and the protocols. We lost our season last year. To be able to finish our season this year is just incredible.
"We’ve had a lot of great teams, and this team stacks right up there with them. This is one of my most rewarding seasons.”
Rockford (14-4) also had defeated Brighton (18-6-1) during the regular season 19-5.
“We had a lot of players under quarantine back then,’’ said Brighton coach Ashton Peters.
“I think they started to get a run on us in the beginning (this time). We came back and made it close, we just didn’t have enough time. I truly believe we could have won, but they scored five straight points and we couldn’t get back in it.’’
Rockford got on the board early on a goal by Chloe Dunham, who scored six goals total, with an assist from Mackenzie Delacher. Seconds later Isabelle Osborn, who tallied five goals, scored for the Rams to make it 2-0.
Osborn made it 3-0 less than one minute later with her second goal.
Brighton finally got on the board with a goal by Gabby Mainhardt. But Sydney Walsh made it 4-1 for the Rams, and seconds later Chloe Holmes tacked on another to make it 5-1.
Mainhardt scored her second to cut the deficit to 5-2.
Holmes scored her second for Rockford to make it 6-2. Ella Boose became the second player to score for Brighton to trim the deficit to 6-3.
Osborn scored her third goal of the game to make it 7-3, and Katherine Rodriguez scored seconds later to make it 8-3.
Sophie Mondro ended the streak for Brighton to reduce the lead to 8-4. Rodriguez scored her second for Rockford for a 9-4 lead.
Dunham scored her second as Rockford reached double figures, 10-5.
“We didn’t really know what to expect this year, and it kind of gave us a new perspective as far as what a privilege it is to be out here, and we love the game,’’ Dunham said. “We played that way today. We have a lot of balance and we trusted each other.’’
Mainhardt scored her third for the Bulldogs to make it 10-6. Osborn’s fourth gave Rockford an 11-6 lead, but Kaia Malachino closed the first half with a goal for Brighton.
After trailing 11-7 at halftime, Amanda Granader scored her second goal of the game to get Brighton within 11-8 early in the second half.
Walsh helped stem the tide with her second goal to make it 12-8.
Rodriguez scored her third to increase the Rams lead to 13-8. Dunham made it three straight goals for the Rams to extend the lead to 14-8.
Dunham’s fourth made 15-8 as Brighton’s offense wilted until Mainhardt scored back-to-back goals to make it 15-10. She finished with five goals. Dunham added her fifth with an assist from Osborn to put Rockford up six.
Dunham tacked on her sixth to increase the lead to 17-10 and Osborn’s fifth made it 18-10.
Two goals by Amaria Whitby got the Bulldogs to within five goals, 15-13.
With 1:09 left, the Bulldogs had cut the lead to 19-16 on Boose’s second goal as Rockford’s offense became turnover prone. But the Rams were able to hang on for the final minute-plus to close out the championship.
PHOTOS: (Top) Rockford’s Isabelle Osborn (15) considers her next move Saturday while Brighton’s Olivia Groce guards her. (Middle) Abbie Chaka (15) and Kelley Elizabeth (26) defend the Bulldogs’ goal.
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.)