Though winning the Regional Title is nothing new for them, the Rockford Girl’s Lacrosse Team never takes anything for granted. With one of the toughest schedules in the state of Michigan, they were humble and cautiously optimistic. This title is the sixth consecutive time Rockford has won the medals for the Regional competition. Along the way, they defeated West Ottawa 29-1, Portage United 23-1, and finally, Forest Hills United 19-10.
During the Portage game, Coach Mike Emery was able to rotate consistently through his players, giving them all a great amount of playing time. In fact, 12 different members on their roster were able to score, led in goals by senior Erika Neumen and junior Isabelle Vickers.
Forest Hills faced Rockford in the Regional Finals game on Friday, May 31. “It’s a pretty big rivalry,” Coach Emery said. “We have to be ready because they always play hard.” While Forest Hills definitely came ready to play, multiple goals by senior Erika Neumen, juniors Meghan Datema and Kendall Short, and freshman Alex Vandermolen foiled Forest Hill’s attempt at the Regional Title.
While Rockford only rosters three seniors, their underclassman power is impressive on the field. Offensive player Alex Vandermolen and defensive player Ryann Deuel were both named Honorable Mention All-Conference as freshmen. Vandermolen has enjoyed the dynamics of the team, “I think we work really well as a team. I believe that’s what’s going to lead us to the state championship.” Deuel also has felt the camaraderie of being part of an exceptional team, “With the past two games, we have gotten even closer as a team. We realize what we are able to accomplish together and are ready to play Hartland on Wednesday.”
Coach Emery concurs that the ability to work as a team has contributed to their success: “This team has great chemistry all season. We only have three seniors, so we’re young, but we have great leadership from those seniors.” Emery continued, “It was a great game. They (Forest Hills) are always tough competition. They play us hard every time.”
Number one ranked Rockford meets number two ranked Hartland in the state semi-finals of Division 1 play on Wednesday, June 5 at Hartland.