Rockford girls lacrosse claims fourth straight regional final

The Rockford girls lacrosse team claimed the regional title, advancing to the state semifinal against the winner of the South Lyon and Ann Arbor Pioneer regional final.

It is the fourth straight trip for the Lady Rams to the semifinal game. The girls hope to defend their 2010 Division I championship.

The Rams went through a rough stretch at the end of the season, finishing 1-4 against some very strong competition. But when their season was on the line, they reached deep and pulled out two great team wins to claim the regional title.

Rockford’s girls lacrosse team celebrates their fourth straight regional victory. Photo by SCOTT LIVINGSTON

In the semifinal against Lansing Waverly, the Lady Rams jumped out to an early lead, controlling the draw from the opening whistle. Freshman Meghan Datema and sophomore Erica Neumen were key in that effort, with Datema controlling eight draws and Neumen five.

The Rams scored early and fast, tallying twice in the game’s first 1:40. The Ram defense was led by senior captain Sydney Gray, as Gray and her defensive partners Kendall Carr, Kendall Short, Kyleigh Egnatuk, and Datema shut down the attack from Waverly. Jenna Chaffee continued her stellar play in net with 15 saves. The Ram offense was led by Neumen and Kendra Winicki, with Neumen scoring four times and Winicki adding three goals and three assists.

The Rams battled crosstown rival Forest Hills in the final. The two teams had split their earlier conference match-ups, each winning at home. The Rams were not to be denied, making it look easy. After giving up the opening goal, the Rams scored the next five and never looked back. Alyssa Neumen was a standout on the center draw and scored six goals to lead the Rams. Sister Erica scored five, and added three assists, five ground balls, and three caused turnovers. Forest Hills had no answer for the Neumen sisters and their teammates.

Senior Taylor Balch had a solid game with two goals, an assist, and a great takeaway on check from behind at midfield that led to a Ram goal. Gray and Hannah Maroe led an excellent defensive effort, as the Rams played their best game of the season, winning15-8. Chaffee was strong again with 11 saves between the pipes.

The semifinal is Wednesday, June 8, at South Lyon at 5 p.m.


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