Finals Preview: Cross-state Powers Collide
Finals Preview: Cross-state Powers Collide
Girls Lacrosse
Posted Friday, June 7, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

For the first time in the brief history of MHSAA girls lacrosse, a top team from the Grand Rapids area will face a top team from suburban Detroit in both Finals, scheduled for Saturday at Rockford High School.

And those Grand Rapids-area contenders also are the favorites, both ranked No. 1 in their respective divisions at the end of the regular season.

Defending Division 2 champion East Grand Rapids faces Livonia Ladywood in the day's first game at 2 p.m., followed by the host Rams taking on Bloomfield Hills United for the Division 1 title at 4:30. Click for more information including all results from this season's tournament. Both finals also will be streamed live on MHSAA.tv and broadcast on MHSAANetwork.com, and shown next week on Comcast. 

Here's a brief look at the four teams vying for championships (player statistics do not include Semifinals): 

Division 1

BLOOMFIELD HILLS UNITED
Record/rank: 19-5, No. 4 at end of regular season
League finish: First in Oakland Activities Association Red
Coach: Andy Reed, third season (40-23-1)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 12-11 and 11-10 (Regional Quarterfinal) over No. 9 Birmingham United, 16-6 over No. 10 Grosse Pointe South, 13-11 and 14-6 (Regional Final) over No. 7 Troy, 8-7 over No. 5 Birmingham Marian in Regional Semifinal, 10-9 over No. 3 Ann Arbor Pioneer in Semifinal.
Players to watch: Margaret Metzger, sr. M (81 goals, 32 assists); Maria D’Angelo, jr. A (61 goals, 21 assists); Emma Mucci, jr. M (28 goals, 24 assists); Christina Arens, jr. A (24 goals, 19 assists); Maddie Monahan, sr. M (29 goals, 14 assists).
Outlook: Bloomfield Hills has more than doubled its wins (nine) from Reed’s first season and won 14 straight this spring. The Blackhawks also have survived a run of four straight ranked opponents during the postseason, with three one-goal wins during the advance. Metzger added five more goals in the Semifinal win, and her 86 total puts her 12th in the MHSAA record book for one season.

ROCKFORD
Record/rank: 20-5, No. 1 at end of regular season
League finish: Second in O-K Conference Tier 1
Coach: Mike Emery, sixth season (102-28-5)
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2010.
Best wins: 12-6 over No. 3 Ann Arbor Pioneer, 7-4 over No. 5 Birmingham Marian, 9-5 and 15-9 (Semifinal) over No. 2 Hartland, 9-4 over No. 8 Brighton, 17-16 (OT) over Division 2 No. 2 Grand Rapids Catholic Central.
Players to watch: Meghan Datema, jr. M (44 goals 14 assists); Erika Neumen, sr. M (68 goals, 27 assists); Alex VanderMolen, fr. A/M (51 goals, seven assists).
Outlook: A win over Bloomfield Hills United would give the Rams victories over all four of the other top-five teams in Division 1 at the end of the regular season. Rockford also beat some of the best in Division 2, splitting with second-ranked Grand Rapids Catholic Central, sweeping two games against No. 3 Caledonia and taking a win from No. 4 Okemos (however, two losses came against Division 2 No. 1 East Grand Rapids). Three more players in addition to those listed above have scored at least 27 goals so far this season.

Division 2

EAST GRAND RAPIDS
Record/rank: 21-2, No. 1 at end of regular season
League finish: First in O-K Conference Tier 1
Coach: Rich Axtell, fourth season (77-14)
Championship history: Division 2 champion 2012.
Best wins: 6-2 and 13-5 (Semifinal) over No. 4 Okemos, 12-8, 17-8 and 14-13 (Regional Final) over No. 2 Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 10-5, 15-11 and 13-11 (Regional Semifinal) over No. 3 Caledonia, 14-9 and 13-5 over Division 1 No. 1 Rockford, 12-11 over Division 1 No. 2 Hartland.
Players to watch: Claire Ludlow, sr. A (56 goals, 16 assists); Liza Elder, soph. A (54 goals, 21 assists); Katherine Golladay, soph. M (40 goals, 26 assists).
Outlook: It’s tough to argue against East Grand Rapids as the state’s top team regardless of division given its first-place finish in the super-competitive O-K Tier 1 and a list of wins that also includes victories over Division 1 top-10 opponents Bloomfield Hills United, Brighton, Birmingham United and Ann Arbor Pioneer. Total, East Grand Rapids had seven players with at least 18 goals this season entering the Semifinal, making them an incredibly-tough defensive matchup.  

LIVONIA LADYWOOD
Record/rank: 15-1, No. 8 at end of regular season
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic High School League Division II
Coach: Kris Sanders, fourth season (48-19-1)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 15-11 over No. 9 Flint Powers Catholic, 12-8 over No. 5 Farmington Hills Mercy in Regional Final, 11-10 over No. 10 Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood in Semifinal.
Players to watch: Jaclyn Snyder, sr. AW (36 goals, five assists); Megan Leon, jr. A (40 goals, eight assists); Jessica Snyder, jr. A (49 goals, 20 assists).
Outlook: Ladywood made its way into the Division 2 computer rankings’ top 10 early this season and held strong, with its only loss to Division 1 No. 5 Birmingham Marian in the regular-season finale. Senior Christina Riga and junior Rachel Donabedian also have scored at least 30 goals apiece this season, and the team scored fewer than 11 only in that lone loss.

PHOTO: East Grand Rapids' Claire Ludlow looks for an opening in front of the net during her team's Division 2 championship victory last season. 


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