The Rockford girls lacrosse team left little doubt that it was the premier team in the state of Michigan this spring.

Not only did the Rams win the Division 1 state title in impressive fashion with a 16-7 victory against Bloomfield Hills United, but they also dominated the state tournament competition from start to finish.

Rockford wasted little time taking charge of the state championship game. Its leading scorer, senior Erika Neumen, scored the first goal of the match just 24 seconds into the game.

The Rams then reeled off goals from Kendall Short, Meghan Datema, and Kyleigh Egnatuk to take a 4-0 lead before Bloomfield Hills scored its first goal. Rockford continued its assault, and by halftime, the Rams led 11-3. 

Rockford then outscored Bloomfield Hills 5-4 in the second half to put its first state title since 2010 on ice.

“Bloomfield played a great game, but our kids were a little faster and they played a little harder,” coach Mike Emery said. “From day one, we have been focusing on this one goal.”

Rockford reached the state title game after defeating Hartland, the No. 2-ranked team in the state, 15-9 in the semifinals. Prior to that, it had dominated the regional tournament. It defeated West Ottawa, Portage Northern, and Forest Hills by a combined score of 70-12 in its three regional games.

The Rams featured a potent offense, led by senior Erika Neumen, who scored 76 goals and added 29 assists for a total of 105 points.

The Rams had plenty of balanced scoring behind Neumen, as junior Kyleigh Egnatuk totaled 43 goals and 67 total points, junior Isabelle Vickers totaled 38 goals and 65 total points, junior Kendall Short had 32 goals and 32 assists for 64 points, junior Meghan Datema scored 48 points and totaled 63 points, and freshman Alex Vandermolen totaled 54 goals and 62 points.

The Rams also featured strong defense this season. Sophomore goalkeeper Katie Elwell finished with 179 saves for the season. Senior captains Kendal Carr and Lauren Whitfield anchored a defense that also included junior Aimee Hite, sophomore Kelly Spehar, and freshman Ryann Deuel.

The Rams only graduate three seniors, but all three will be playing lacrosse in college. Neumen signed with Hofstra University, Carr will be playing at Aquinas College, and Whitfield will be playing at Aurora College in Illinois.

“This is the hardest-working team we have ever had,” Emery said. “I am so proud of our senior captains. They set the tone from day one with their incredible work ethic.”

While the seniors will be missed, the Rams have plenty of talent returning to make another run at a state title. “There are a lot of talented players on this team, and I am excited to see what they can do in the next couple of years,”  Emery said.