By DAVID COOK
Rockford has won the past two Division 1 state lacrosse titles, and the Rams are in good position for a three-peat. They are a tremendous defensive team, led by goalkeeper Katie Elwell and defender Kelly Spehar. Both players have committed to the brand-new lacrosse team at Central Michigan University. The Rams also have one of the top midfielders in the state in junior Alexandra Vander Molen, who has already committed to Ohio State University. Junior midfielder Zoe Neumann is another talented player, who has also committed to Central Michigan.
Marian and Birmingham United will be two challengers for Rockford. Both have deep and talented squads.
Hartland also has an outstanding team. The Eagles are paced by goalkeeper Alyssa Hopkins. Danielle Porath and junior Maddie Companella return at midfield.
Novi features a strong defensive team this season. Megan Yarberry anchors the defense, while junior attacker Gina Salemi paces the offense.
South Lyon United is led by senior attacker Hannah Burczyk, who is headed to the University of Indianapolis.
Holt has a solid squad. It is led by twins Kate and Laura McKee, who have also committed to Indianapolis.
East Grand Rapids has won three straight state championships, and it will be an upset if it doesn’t make it four in a row this year. The Pioneers have already defeated Rockford this season. They have two of the premier players in the state in seniors Liz Elder and Katherine Golladay. Elder has already committed to Big 10 power Northwestern University, while Golladay has committed to the University of Maryland. Senior midfielder Cydney Vanhoven is headed to Central Michigan University.
Okemos placed second in the state last year. It has plenty of talent, led by senior attacker Natalie Bloniarz, who is headed to Central Michigan. Senior Darby Hopper leads the defense, while junior midfielder Angela Palmer and junior attacker Kendall Luberto are two other talented players.
Cranbrook-Kingswood is among the top teams in the state this year, as are Academy of the Sacred Heart and Detroit Country Day.
Williamston-Haslett is a solid squad led by returning all-state midfielder Kenzie O’Brien. Alex Yates is back in goal, while junior Hannah Alverson is a strong defender. Junior Kaili Gozalka leads the attack on offense.