Country Day Rises with Super Saturday

June 1, 2019

By Keith Dunlap
Special for Second Half

NOVI – For a squad that had won the previous three championships and was ranked No. 1 in the state, there was still understandably a lot of nervousness within the Detroit Country Day girls tennis team going into the final day of the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals.

Country Day entered the day trailing rival Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingwood by a point, and that actually was a deficit that provided a bit of relief among the Yellowjackets.

“Before Cranbrook’s No. 4 doubles team lost, we were down four points to them and they weren’t supposed to lose that quarterfinal match,” said assistant coach Jane Ziecik, the acting head coach for the second day of competition. “Being down four points to Cranbrook is way different than down one.”

But while there were feelings of nervousness for Country Day, it didn’t translate into its play on the last day.

Country Day showed its championship mettle, rising up by winning six of the eight flights and claiming its fourth straight Finals title with 33 points, good enough to outlast runner-up Cranbrook’s total of 26.

“It was definitely more nerve-wracking than what our girls are used to,” Ziecik said. “They are used to not having to worry as hard.”

Leading the way was senior Monique Karoub, who ended her high school career by winning her fourth individual Finals title to complement being part of four team champions.

Karoub beat Nina Govila of Cranbrook in the No. 1 singles final 6-0, 6-1.

“I definitely was confident, but every year I get super nervous,” Karoub said. “It’s never a guarantee at all. It’s just the best feeling to be able to come out on top like this. Especially as a team, too. That’s the best.”

This was a season of transition once again for Karoub, who won last season at No. 2 singles when Country Day had a highly-touted then-freshman, Julia Fleigner, win at No. 1.

Fleigner decided not to play high school this year, and Karoub returned to No. 1 singles, a flight she won as a sophomore in 2017.

Karoub also won the title at No. 2 singles as a freshman.

“It was a difficult transition,” Karoub said. “But I was able to be successful with it. We had a quad in Allegan, and it was our first quad of the season. I had a really close three-set match, and it just emphasized how difficult No. 1 can be and how good the girls are.”

Karoub is moving on to attend college at Michigan State. She said she is undecided on whether she will play tennis.

“I just tried to be consistent because I was really nervous,” Karoub said. “I just tried to focus on footwork and try and control the things I could control.”

Other flight champions for Country Day were Elle Hartje at No. 2 singles, Alexis Nardicchio at No. 3 singles, the team of Tara Rahmani and Nina Khaghany at No. 1 doubles, the tandem of Ruhe Wayak and Lana Haddad at No. 2 doubles and the team of Maria Sicilia and Rachel Jeong at No. 3 doubles.

Cranbrook, which won five team Division 3 championships in a row from 2011-15, finished runner-up for the second straight year.

Charlotte Brown won the title at No. 4 singles for Cranbrook.

“Country Day is a really strong team, and we’ve been chasing them all year,” Cranbrook head coach Grant Asher said. “We feel like we have been getting closer and closer, and I think that was evident after day one. But they’re a really strong and deep team. I was really proud of our girls in a sense that they put themselves in a position to put some pressure on them. Unfortunately, Country Day elevated their game at the end.”

The only flight that didn’t have a champion from Country Day or Cranbrook was No. 4 doubles, where Grand Rapids Christian’s team of Grace Maurer and Calista Bremer, seeded sixth, won the title.

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PHOTOS: (Top) Detroit Country Day celebrates its fourth straight LP Division 3 title Saturday. (Middle) Country Day's Maria Sicilia returns a volley during a match at No. 3 doubles. (Click for more from

Lacrosse Finals Move to U-M Among Headlines as Spring Sports Ramp Up

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

April 9, 2024

The Girls & Boys Lacrosse Finals will be played at University of Michigan Lacrosse Stadium for the first time, one of the most notable changes for this season as sports ramp up for more than 100,000 athletes anticipated to participate this spring for Michigan High School Athletic Association member schools.

The MHSAA sponsors postseason competition each spring in baseball, girls and boys lacrosse, girls soccer, softball, girls and boys track & field, boys golf (Lower and Upper Peninsula) and girls golf (UP), and girls (LP) and boys (UP) tennis.

The U-M Lacrosse Stadium opened for competition in 2018 and seats 2,000 spectators. The Girls Lacrosse Finals will be played Friday, June 7, with Division 1 at 4 p.m. and Division 2 at 7 p.m. The Boys Lacrosse Finals will be played the following day, June 8, with Division 2 at 11 a.m. and Division 1 at 2 p.m.

Girls lacrosse also has a significant format adjustment this season, as games will be played with four 12-minutes quarters instead of the previous two halves, in part to allow coaches more opportunities to provide direct instruction during a game. Two more rules changes are expected to improve flow of play – players awarded a free position outside of the critical scoring area no longer must come to a stop and settled stance before self-starting, and false start penalties outside the critical scoring area have been eliminated.

Several more rules changes will be noticeable this spring:

In boys lacrosse, a change was made to enhance player safety. Play will stop immediately any time a player’s helmet comes off, and that player may not return until the next dead ball after play continues.

Fair and legal starts are a continued emphasis for track & field, and a rule change will allow for movement before the start of the race as long as a competitor does not leave their mark with a hand or a foot after the “set” command, or make forward motion before the starting device is activated.

A significant rule change in softball alters pitch delivery mechanics. The pitcher may now have both feet off the ground at the same time when releasing the ball as long as both feet remain within the 24-inch width of a pitching plate and the pitcher does not replant the pivot foot before delivering the pitch.

Another change in softball requires that a playbook/playcard be worn on the wrist or kept in a back pocket to reduce distractions. If worn by the pitcher, the equipment must be worn on the non-pitching arm. Similarly in baseball, a wristband with plays or instructions will be permitted but must be a single, solid color, and for pitchers may not contain the colors white or gray or be otherwise distracting. Baseball players must wear this wristband on the wrist or forearm, and pitchers may wear one only on their non-pitching arm.

Also in baseball, a rule change allows for one-way communication devices worn by the catcher to receive instructions from the dugout while on defense, for the purpose of calling pitches. The coach must be inside the dugout/bench area to use the communication device.

Golfers now are required to participate in at least four competitions for the high school team prior to representing that school team in an MHSAA Regional or Final. Those four regular-season competitions may be 9 or 18-hole events.

In tennis, for the first time in Lower Peninsula play, a No. 1 doubles flight from a non-qualifying team will be able to advance from its Regional to Finals competition. To do so, that No. 1 doubles flight must finish first or second at its Regional, and the No. 1 singles player from that team also must have qualified for the Finals individually by finishing first or second in Regional play.

On the soccer pitch, two officiating-related changes will be especially noticeable. Officials now may stop the clock to check on an injured player without that player being required to leave the match – previously that player would have to sub out. Also, categories for fouls have been redefined: careless (which is a foul but does not receive a card), reckless (a foul with a yellow card) and excessive force (foul with red card). 

The 2023-24 Spring campaign culminates with postseason tournaments, as the championship schedule begins with the Upper Peninsula Girls & Boys Golf and Boys Tennis Finals during the week of May 27 and wraps up with Girls Soccer, Baseball and Softball Finals on June 15. Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:

Districts – May 23-June 1
Regional Semifinals – June 5
Regional Finals, Quarterfinals – June 8
Semifinals – June 13-14
Finals – June 15

LP Boys Regionals – May 28-June 1
UP Girls & Boys Finals – May 29, 30, 31 or June 1
LP Boys Finals – June 7-8

Boys Lacrosse
Pre-Regionals – May 10-15
Regionals – May 16-29
Quarterfinals – May 31 or June 1
Semifinals – June 5
Finals – June 8

Girls Lacrosse
Pre-Regionals – May 16-18, or May 20
Regionals – May 22-June 1
Semifinals – June 5
Finals – June 7

Girls Soccer
Districts – May 22-June 1
Regionals – June 4-8
Semifinals – June 11-12
Finals – June 14-15

Districts – May 23-June 1
Regionals – June 8
Quarterfinals – June 11
Semifinals – June 13-14
Finals – June 15

LP Girls Regionals – May 15-18
UP Boys Finals – May 29, 30, 31 or June 1
LP Girls Finals – May 31-June 1

Track & Field
Regionals – May 16-18
Finals – June 1