Dow Not Denied This Time in D1 Rematch

June 4, 2016

By Scott Keyes
Special for Second Half

MIDLAND – To say the Midland Dow girls tennis team enjoyed a boost playing close to home Saturday afternoon would be an understatement.

Dow coach Garrett Turner wasn't about to apologize after watching the Chargers win the Lower Peninsula Division 1 girls tennis championship at the Greater Midland Tennis Center. Dow had last won the title in 2009 and finished second last season and in 2010.

“We came out ready to go. We played a lot of great tennis, and we got the job done,” Turner said. “I was proud of what we accomplished seven years ago, and I couldn't be more proud of this year's team. We went out and battled a very tough Northville team and got the win. It's a true testament of how much we worked in the off season to prepare us for this moment. What a year. What an accomplishment."

Dow finished with 33 points to edge Northville, which finished with 30. Grosse Pointe South was third with 18 points, Ann Arbor Pioneer fourth with 17 and Rockford fifth with 14.

Northville, the reigning Division 1 champion, fought hard right up until the final match. But Dow's Caroline Szabo clinched the title for the Chargers by defeating Northville's Shanoli Kumar 6-2, 6-3 at No. 2 singles.

The win was redemption for Szabo, who was forced to watch last year's Finals from the sidelines because of an injury.

"Sitting out last season was hard to watch, especially when we were close to defeating Northville," Szabo said. "It was hard not being able to help the team.

"Watching last year, to clinching the title this year, it is pretty incredible."

Northville coach Linda Jones was confident the team would hang close to Midland Dow heading into the tournament, but she knew it was going to take some stellar performances by her team to get past the Chargers.

"To win it last year and to finish second this year is something that has never happened at Northville High School," Jones said. "These girls have worked so hard to make it this far and just miss winning another state title is extremely gratifying to our team. We knew Dow was doing to be tough, but our girls hung in there and fought to the end."

Of the eight flight championship matches, Northville and Dow competed head-to-head in six. Szabo gave Dow a win at No. 2 singles, while Sarah Ismail added a Chargers' win at No. 3.

Ismail beat Northville's Joanne Gao, 6-1, 6-3. Ismail, a sophomore, is in her first year at Dow and on the tennis team. She was home-schooled as a freshman and played in USTA tournaments.

Senior captains Afua Ofori-Darko and Kamryn Matthews repeated as No. 1 doubles champions for Dow, beating Northville's Serena Wang and Maya Mulchandini, 6-1, 6-0 to cap an undefeated season.

Ofori-Darko, a senior, said to end her career with a team championship is something she will always remember.

"I have won three individual titles in my career, but to finally get that team championship in my senior season is just icing on the cake," Ofori-Darko said. "My high school career is now complete."

Dow added another title in No. 2 doubles when the third-seeded team of Meghan Killmaster and Kelly Livingston upset Northville's Reeshma Kumar and Molly Bis.

Northville earned a win at No. 3 doubles when Neha Chava and Sophie Zhuang outlasted Mina Fabiano and Tatum Matthews of Dow, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2). The Mustangs added a win in No. 4 doubles when Brittany Macaddino and Alexandria Petix defeated Dow's Maggie Schaller and Marie Marche.

As mentioned, only two matches did not include Dow and Northville players facing off.

At No. 1 singles, West Bloomfield’s Anika Yarlagadda captured the title with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Raven Neely of Grosse Pointe South. Michi Ota of Ann Arbor Huron won No. 4 singles with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Emily Roopas of Ann Arbor Pioneer.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) A Midland Dow tennis player returns a shot during Saturday's Division 1 Finals at Greater Midland Tennis Center. (Middle) The Chargers pose with their first championship trophy since 2009. (Click to see 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