Rockford 2011 graduate Taylor Balch recently signed a letter of intent to play lacrosse at Davenport University. Balch was a three-year starter for the Rams lacrosse program and a member of the state championship team of 2010. She has played lacrosse for five years. This past season Balch was Rockford’s second leading scorer and third in team assists. Davenport’s lacrosse coach is excited to add Balch to the program. Davenport currently is a Division II NAIA school, but has requested NCAA Division II status. Balch is excited about the opportunity to play in a small school atmosphere with great facilities, and intends to pursue a career in nursing. She is the daughter of Randy and Penny Balch.
Rockford Girls Lacrosse
Postseason awards for the Rockford girls lacrosse team have been piling up as fast as their victories have on the field. Senior Alyssa Neumen became the second Ram to earn recognition from U.S. Lacrosse for her play, being named as a Regional Honorable Mention All American. Only nine players from Michigan received this prestigious honor and Neumen joins East Grand Rapids’ Lauren Hooker on the squad. Neumen also earned First Team All Conference and First Team All State honors in her senior season. Joining Neumen on the All Conference and All State First Team is her sister, Erica Neumen. Erica leads the Rams in goals, and caused turnovers this season as a sophomore. Senior Taylor Balch, the second leading scorer on the team, also earned All Conference Honorable Mention in her final season as a Ram. Rockford’s girls really exemplify the student in student athlete as the entire team earned Academic All State status for their team effort in the classroom and on the field. Individually, juniors Carly Dew, Hannah Maroe and Jenna Chaffee earned Academic All State honors. Coaches Mike Emery and Jeff Neerken stated, “We are extremely proud of our entire team and their effort on the field and in the classroom. These young ladies are a great representation of the excellence of the partnership of our Rockford school, parent support and student body.”
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. 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 […]
A freshman stole the show on Senior Night for the Rockford girls lacrosse team, as Erica Neumen led the Rams to victory over the Pioneers from East Grand Rapids (EGR) with five goals. The Rams were never challenged, jumping out to a quick lead that grew to 10-4 at the half. Rockford set a blistering pace behind Neumen, senior Andi Raymond and Neumen’s older sister Alyssa, and were never threatened as they earned their second consecutive OK Rainbow Division I co-championship. The Rams once again share the title with Catholic Central, who they split games with for the third consecutive year to each finish 5-1 in conference play. Finding the net for the Rams were Meagan Emery, Taylor Hiner, Kelsei Streeter, Katie Bean, Taylor Balch and Karly McQueen in addition to Raymond and the Neumen sisters. EGR struggled to move and control the ball all game due to the pesky defense by the Rams. Lexi O’Connor and Abbey Neerken along with Raymond, Emery and seniors Kelly McCabe and Jill Fowle frustrated the Pioneers all night long with their speed and attacking style of play. Coach Neerken stated, “It was definitely one of our best overall team performances of the year, especially on defense. We need to play this way the rest of the year to contend for the state title.” The Lady Rams have 10 seniors on their roster, and all saw action on Senior Night as the parents and players were honored in pre-game festivities. Senior Katie Bean did double duty, scoring a goal and playing the National Anthem on her trumpet. Rockford is finishing their non-conference season with trips to Okemos and Flint Powers. Their regional starts May 27 with a cross-town battle against Forest Hills, who is hosting the regional games this year.
A beautiful evening at the Grand Rapids Catholic Central athletic fields greeted the two best girls lacrosse teams in West Michigan on Wednesday, April 21. It was a showdown to establish leadership of the OK Rainbow conference. In the first meeting this year between the two highly ranked teams, the girls gave the fans a great show. The Rams scored first and then Catholic Central answered with two quick goals to take their only lead of the night, 2-1. The Rams then reeled off four straight goals behind the scoring duo of Meagan Emery and Andi Raymond. The Cougars clawed their way back into the game, tying it twice at 5-5, and then at the half, 6-6. The Rams came out strong in the first four minutes of the second half, with Raymond and Emery teaming up for a goal and assist each. The Rams led 8-6 and then their tough defense took over. With Jenna Chaffee in goal and a great defensive effort from all the Rams, including Jill Fowle, Abbey Neerken, Kelli Raymond, Sydney Gray, Lexi O’Connor, Kelly McCabe, and Alyssa Neumen, the Rams shut down the Cougar offense and let their own control the ball and the clock. A late goal by Catholic Central made it close, but the Rams were in control the entire second half. The Ram scoring was led by Emery with three goals and an assist, and Andi Raymond with one goal and three assists, while O’Connor, Taylor Hiner Erica Neumen and Kelsei Streeter each added a goal. Streeter’s goal was a great feed from Raymond behind the cage and an acrobatic on-timer from Streeter in front of the net.