Rockford cruised to its seventh Division 1 state championship in girls lacrosse, crushing Brighton, 25-5, at Grand Ledge High School.
The win made it six titles in a row for Rockford and an even 200 victories for coach Mike Emery.
“It’s all about the kids,” Emery said. “We hold them to some high expectations, and they’re the ones that put the ball in the back of the net and stop the other team.”
Rockford (19-2) benefited from a pair of senior midfielders, Mekenzie VanderMolen and Brooklyn Neumen. VanderMolen had six goals, three assists and two forced turnovers while Neumen contributed with six goals, two assists and eight draw controls.
“Both girls have played together for so long, and it’s their fourth championship,” Emery said. “They see the field so well and really moved the ball today. Brighton couldn’t keep up with our speed and ball movement.”
Emery mentioned that there were several former Rockford players at the game and that their support has been an indispensable part of building the program.
“Once you’re a Ram, you’re always a Ram,” Emery said.
Senior Maggie Hammer started every game for four seasons and had two goals while Sydney Zimmerman chipped in with four for Rockford.
Brighton finished 13-8.
Division 2 championship
Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood girls lacrosse coach Evan Foulsham knew she was in for a tough task when she took over for Greg Courter after Courter had piloted Cranbrook-Kingswood to a state title in 2017.
A year later, Foulsham can consider that task complete after Cranbrook-Kingswood (17-1-1) knocked off Okemos 16-8, to win its second-straight state championship at Grand Ledge High School.
“This group of girls is so talented,” Foulsham said. “They came out every day and tried to get better.”
Cranbrook-Kingswood certainly had an easier time of it this year. Last year’s team needed a third-overtime goal from Angelina Wiater to get the job done.
Wiater’s heroics weren’t necessary this year, but she still performed well, scoring four goals with two assists.
“We had great leadership from our captains,” Foulsham said. “It was a little too close for comfort at halftime, but our captains came out in the second half and forgot about the calls that didn’t go our way or the goals that were scored on us. We came out in the second half with guns blazing.”
Foulsham thinks a slim halftime lead was due to her team being a little too in its own head.
“It was tight the entire first half. It was a gut check. Nothing needed to change physically, just our mental attitude. We came out in the second half relaxed, and we were just way more positive and enthusiastic.”
Isabelle Scane scored six goals and senior attack Sophia Milia had three goals and five assists for Cranbrook-Kingswood.
Okemos finished 19-4.
Eric Coughlin is a freelance writer