LP Tennis Finals: Championship Returns

June 2, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart had its first outdoor practice this season near the end of March. When co-coaches Judy Hehs and Jean Koehler showed up to the courts, their players already were in the midst of their usual warm-up routine.

Sacred Heart brought back 10 players from last season’s Division 4 runner-up that finished only three points behind Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian. And when those players got to Holland and the surrounding courts used because of Friday’s rain storms, they again knew what needed to be done.

The Gazelles, relying on four top-seeded doubles teams, finished with 29 points Saturday to claim their first MHSAA championship, by seven points over runner-up Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central.

Sacred Heart pairs won individual championships at Nos. 1, 3 and 4, and the No. 2 pair finished runner-up. That No. 1 team of Kelsey Nagle and Emily Nash also played the top flight in 2011, and the No. 3 pair of Heidi Lemon and Sarah Spangler played together last season at No. 4.

“It’s really helpful when you can bring sophomores to a state tournament, and they’re hungry and eager to learn, and you come close,” Hehs said. “Then you bring them back as juniors, and they get it.”

The No. 4 doubles team of Kendall Lehmann and Teresa Walawender also won their flight for the Gazelles, while the team's singles players either scored to their seeds or surpassed them. Kelsey Hildebrand was seeded sixth at No. 2 singles but advanced to the semifinals, as did No. 3 player Tyler Papazian, who was seeded fifth.

No. 2 doubles Hannah Gerrard and Elia Wilson fell just shy of matching their top seed, but still finished runners-up at their flight.

“We left there (last season) in shock; how could we have been so close and not done it?” Hehs said. “But we had a group of kids, and they were totally committed to this. This was their goal.”

The most intriguing singles championship match came at No. 1. Ann Arbor Greenhills senior Kasey Gardiner won her third MHSAA individual championship – she also claimed titles in 2009 and 2010 – by downing Kalamazoo Hackett’s Meika Ashby. Ashby won the No. 1 singles title last season.

Click for full results.

Division 1 at Midland Tennis Center

The seeds didn’t stack up for Grosse Pointe South to make a run at the favorites this season. But the Blue Devils played above those numbers to claim their 13th championship in the 31-year history of the Girls Tennis Finals, edging runners-up Clarkston and Port Huron Northern by a point each.

Only four top seeds won their flights – including Grosse Pointe South’s No. 2 doubles Amelia Boccaccio and Carrie Lynch, who claimed a three-set win over Port Huron Northern that was among difference-makers. The Blue Devils also got a championship at No. 4 singles by Maggie Sweeney, who entered as a fourth seed.

No. 1 singles was claimed by a fifth seed – Davina Nguyen of Utica against Clarkston’s Katie Brozovich, who won No. 3 singles in 2011. Brozovich's teammate Lexi Baylis defended her championship at No. 2 with a straight-set win.

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Division 2 at Kalamazoo College

Birmingham Seaholm won only one individual flight. But the Maples claimed enough points to edge Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern by two – 27-25 – at the top of the final standings.

The championship was Seaholm's third, but first since 2004. It finished runner-up last season and also in 2005 and 2006. Forest Hills Northern had won or shared the last six Division 2 championships.

FHN made its push by winning two doubles flights and advancing to the championship match of the other two. But Seaholm also reached the finals in four flights, including Nos. 2-4 singles – and won the deciding match in the No. 3 doubles final when top-seeded Jackie Meier and Rachel Wilson defeated FHN's Stephanie Nguyen and Lindsey Schichtel in straight sets.

The tournament was not without surprises. The Huskies got doubles points from pairs that finished far better than they were seeded – Shelby Moored and Lauren Gager were a fourth seed and won at No. 2, and Schichtel and Nguyen were the sixth seed at No. 3.

No. 1 and No. 4 singles both were won by fifth seeds – Mason’s Abby Perkins in the top flight and Grand Rapids Northview’s Claire Stam in the fourth.

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Division 3 at Holly/Fenton

Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood earned its 14th championship, and did so after the first day of play before finishing the effort Saturday with 34 points – nine more than runner-up East Grand Rapids.

No. 1 singles standout Alexandria Najarian defended her championship with a two-set win over Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s Sydney Liggins. Cranbrook-Kingswood also swept doubles with wins from Megan Simmons and Meg Phyle at No. 1, Claire Huttenlocher and Maria Landi at No. 2, Briana Letica and Holly Meers at No. 3 and Lauren Lanzon and Christina Roualet at No. 4.

All of those winning flights were seeded one or two entering the tournament.

Click for full results.

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

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com 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