Happiness Can’t Hide Need for Change
The Michigan high school lacrosse season is coming to a completion. We have two days left – the State Semi-Finals will be played on Wednesday and the Finals on Saturday. Yes, we are all happy that we had a season. We’re all happy that the Class of 2021 was able to compete. The season was a success. However, there are changes that need to be made with our beloved sport. Let’s talk about three of them (I know there are more…)
1. Girls Tournament – The girls tournament needs to be fully seeded. Not just the top two teams or four or whatever. The entire tournament – all games, need to be analyzed, discussed, and seeded. I’ve said this for years. Hopefully, with the number of too early match ups between top tier teams will create a groundswell of disapproval and we can make this happen. The girls deserve it – the MHSAA and others preach equality. Now is your chance to prove it!
2. Boys and Girls Tournament Games on the Same Day – This Wednesday, both the boys and girls will be playing their semi-final games – at the same time. Same goes for Saturday in the Finals. If we are to promote the sport and promote equality, fans, parents, and students should not have to choose. WE should be able to attend all the games – especially at the semi-final / final level. My daughter played lacrosse and I’ve grown to love the women’s game. It’s fast moving, competitive and with the good teams, it’s amazing to see their skill. Just like the boys! It shouldn’t be that hard to create a staggered schedule – perhaps beginning at the quarter final stage – or why not, the entire tournament, to allow lacrosse to be played all week – boys and girls play every other day throughout the tournaments. Again, let’s make this happen.
3. Competitive Balance – As we wind down, the tournament games are getting more competitive, and the margin of victory is getting smaller. It’s supposed to be like that, right. We, as fans, get caught up in the close games and we get excited about the Finals. But we can’t forget the blow outs that occurred earlier in the tournament and the large number of running clock scenarios we had. Can we please do something about the divisional alignment? It’s pie-in-the-sky, I know, but can’t we have divisions based on current ability? Move teams up and down based on their most recent performance, like English Soccer. The tournament games would be better, and the leagues wouldn’t change one bit. This would be just for the tournament. Three divisions for the boys and two for the girls. I’m sure we could put a committee of five people in a room and make it happen. It would be spectacular. Heck, try it for two years and see how it goes.
Bad Picks and Other Strangers
Yeah, I took Rockford over Lake Orion. I admit, I was wrong but at least the game was close. And Catholic Central took down Midland – another incorrect “gut feeling”. Maybe it was my diet last week that hindered my guts!
But, as luck would have it, I get another chance to redeem myself and make some good choices this time. Let’s go:
Girls Division I Semi-Finals
Midland (20-0) vs. Rockford (13-4)
Bloomfield Hills (13-4) vs. Brighton (17-5-1)
We have two fantastic matchups. Rockford, the defending champs (seven years running) who were counted out earlier in the year vs. undefeated Midland, who has wins over Hartland and DeWitt.
Bloomfield Hills, finally reaching the final four vs. Brighton, who has been the runner-up the last two years.
ALM’s Picks: Rockford, experience and strength of schedule were the factors in this pick. And in the other game, I’ll take Brighton. The game will be closer than the one in the regular season, but Brighton should set up a rematch from 2019 and 2018 with Rockford.
Girls Division II Semi-Finals
DeWitt (17-3) vs. East Grand Rapids (21-2)
Cranbrook (10-6) vs. Mercy (6-6-1)
EGR is having a special season and Cranbrook is peaking at the right time, to be sure. Big props to DeWitt for developing their program and getting to this point. It’s fantastic and should be a model for all programs in the state. Mercy is loaded with talent and has a fine team, but Cranbrook is talented, playing with confidence and ready to shock the world.
ALM’s Picks: East Grand Rapids and Cranbrook. I saw them play in 2017, in the game for the ages. Let’s do it again on June 12, shall we!
Boys Division I Semi-Finals
Brother Rice (16-2) vs. Lake Orion (14-4)
Hartland (21-1) vs. Catholic Central (11-5)
Many lacrosse fans are rooting for a Rice / Hartland final, except for those following LO and CC. The Dragons topped Rockford on Saturday and are playing with emotion. CC edged a strong Midland team. Rice improved their play against Northville after their scare with Birmingham. Hartland is just rolling!
All four teams are experienced, talented, and hungry for the title.
ALM’s Picks: Brother Rice and Hartland.
Boys Division II Semi-Finals
Forest Hills Central (16-3) vs. Forest Hills Eastern (14-5)
East Grand Rapids (18-2) vs. Detroit Country Day (13-3)
FHC is the green and white steamroller. They have been to the finals the past four years and they want a chance to defend their title. The Rangers downed Eastern earlier in the year.
EGR will bring their zone defense into their game with DCD. The Yellow Jackets know it’s coming and how they have prepared for it and handle it will either send them home or a chance to play FHC again. The regular season game between Forest Hills Central and Detroit Country Day was fantastic. It was fast paced and a wonderful example of high school lacrosse. I’m hoping to see it one more time.
ALM’s Picks: Forest Hills Central and Detroit Country Day.
All records from Lax Numbers.
Picks: To be on the safe side, I’m getting my mulligan declaration ready!