Sacred Heart Finds Title Formula Again

May 30, 2015

By Butch Harmon
Special for Second Half

HOLLAND – The Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart girls tennis team utilized a familiar formula as it turned in another title-winning effort at the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 4 Final in Holland this weekend.

Following the same blueprint it used in winning the title in 2013, Sacred Heart won its third in the past four years. The Gazelles swept all four doubles flights and also won the title at No. 4 singles.

“We stress that every point matters,” Sacred Heart coach Judy Hehs said. “The points at first singles count just as much as the points at four doubles. Two years ago we won it the same way. We won all the doubles matches and also won at No. 4 singles. That has worked out well for us.”

The Gazelles finished with 34 points, followed by second-place Traverse City St. Francis with 27. Ludington took third place with 18 points.

Senior Teresa Walawender won the lone individual title for Sacred Heart. Seeded second at No. 4 singles, she defeated Anne Bandrowski of Traverse City St. Francis 6-4, 6-3, to win the title. It was her first individual title, while the team title was the third during her career.

Walawender also provided the Gazelles with leadership this year as one of the team’s captains.  

“I’m a captain this year, and it’s even more special,” Walawender said. “This year I had to provide leadership for the team. We are a real close team, and we all support each other.”

While Academy of the Sacred Heart had won two of the previous three LP Division 4 titles, this year’s was no sure thing as the team suffered heavy graduation losses from a squad that placed sixth last season.

“We have six first-year players in the starting lineup,” Hehs said. “We have four freshmen and two transfer juniors. It took us a while to figure things out. It’s been a journey.”

The journey also had a number of obstacles. One hit the doubles lineup when Meghan Carroll suffered an injury at No. 4 at the end of the regular season. Sacred Heart responded by moving senior Sarah Panone into the lineup at No. 4 doubles with Stella Betrus. The combination clicked as Betrus and Panone won the Division 4 title at No. 4 doubles with a 6-2, 6-2 win against Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard.

“We only started playing together at the end of the season,” Betrus said. “My partner (Carroll) hurt her foot and Sarah stepped in for her. It ended up working out great.”

Panone’s versatility helped the duo quickly jell.

“I think we meshed real well,” Panone said. “I’ve played one doubles and three singles. I play wherever I’m needed. This feels great.”

At No. 3 doubles, the Sacred Heart team of Tate Lehmann and Kathryn Monahan made their No. 1 seed hold up as they defeated Kalamazoo Christian 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

“I thought we played our best tennis at this tournament,” said Lehmann, a junior. “I think we meshed real well as a team. We have the same type of personality, and it worked out well.”

For Monahan, a freshman, it was her first MHSAA Finals experience.

“It was pretty cool,” Monahan said. “Hopefully we can do it again next year.”

Academy of the Sacred Heart made it a clean sweep as it won the title at both No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. At No. 1 doubles, Selina Fuchs and Abby Hildebrand defeated Ludington in two sets.

At No. 2, Sara Gerard and Kendall Gassman took the title with a three-set win against Ludington.

At No. 1 singles, Traverse City St. Francis junior Amanda Bandrowski broke through after a pair of final four appearances in her first two trips to the Finals. Bandrowski, who came in seeded third, defeated top-seeded Jeanne Nash of Sacred Heart 6-4, 6-4 in the title match at No. 1 singles.

“The past two years I lost in the semifinals,” Bandrowski said. “To win the title this time is great.”

Bandrowski had to be versatile to adapt to changing conditions as she twice had matches start outdoors but move indoors due to rain.

“I think I play better indoors anyway,” Bandrowski said. “I just had to be patient and wait for my opportunities. I stayed patient and made her miss. All of my matches were tough so I just had to stay focused and patient.”

Kalamazoo Christian junior Audrey Bouma was another player who had to stay patient and focused. Bouma needed three sets to hold off Bailey Chouinard of Traverse City St. Francis at No. 2 singles. Bouma was up 4-1 and 5-2 in the second set before Chouinard battled back to force a third.

“I think I started to let up at the end of the second set,” Bouma said. “In the third set I got my focus back. I started to focus on playing myself and hitting the ball and not focus on my opponent. My swing started to get faster and I didn’t let up.”

The title was the third straight singles title for Bouma, who won the No. 3 singles title as both a freshman and a sophomore.

“My freshman year I won the title in a match that was very similar,” Bouma said. “I won the first set but then lost the second one before coming back to win it in the third set.”

At No. 3 singles, Ann Arbor Greenhills junior Julia Friedman defeated Natalie Burke of Traverse City St Francis 6-0, 7-6 (4).

“It was a real close match and I thought it was going to go to a third set,” Friedman said.

For Friedman, who has been playing tennis for seven years, it was her first trip to the MHSAA Finals.

Click for full results. 

PHOTOS: (Top) Teresa Walawender of Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart returns a shot during Saturday's LP Division 4 Final at No. 4 singles. (Middle) Traverse City St. Francis' Amanda Bandrowski plays for the championship at No. 1 singles; she won in two sets. (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