Michigan high school girls lacrosse state finals: New coach, same result for East Grand Rapids
East Grand Rapids had a new head coach in this year’s Division 2 girls lacrosse championship but the result was typical.
Behind a potent offensive trio, the Pioneers defeated Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood, 15-11, on Saturday in Novi.
Lizzie Lundeen and Eliana LaMange collected five goals and an assist apiece, while Lucy Cavanaugh tossed in four goals and assisted on six others.
The Pioneers (23-2) have won seven of the last nine state championships. The Cranes (12-7) won the other two titles during that span in 2017 and 2018.
“We feed off of each other,” East Grand Rapids first-year coach Geri Merrell said. “It was just an amazing rollercoaster of emotions. This truly was just the cherry on top of an amazing season. The girls wanted it so bad and they took care of what they needed to do.”
After not having a chance to win a championship last year, the Pioneers felt a little extra pressure.
“It’s been surreal for the team,” Lundeen said. “We felt lucky to have a season at all. To be back here, it doesn’t even feel real for most of us. We wanted to take advantage of it and play our hearts out.”
Lundeen scored five first-half goals as East Grand Rapids led 10-6 at halftime. LaMange tossed in three goals by the break, including one as time expired.
Cranbrook-Kingswood had a 4-3 advantage midway through the half but the Pioneers scored the next four goals to take the lead and never relinquished it.
It was still just a one-goal game until the final two minutes of half, when Lundeen scored twice and LaMange fired in her last-second goal.
“We really felt a lot stronger after that goal,” Lundeen said.
“The girls were like, ‘Let’s put it away.’ They put the focus on and they do what they say very often,” Merrell said. “That confidence, that comes from hours of practice and years of being together.”
Cavanaugh and LaMange scored two goals apiece in the first eight minutes of the second half. The Cranes scored four of the last five goals but couldn’t make up the deficit.
Lilli Sherman led Cranbrook Kingswood with three goals.
“I felt like we didn’t play to our potential,” Cranes coach Jeanne Woodbury said. “But to have a score of 15-11 and still have a lot of mistakes, it’s a little frustrating but it’s a positive thing to come out of it.