Source: USA Today High School Sports
Author: Dan O'Meara / John Stormzand
Farmington Hills Mercy waited six years to win another regional championship in girls lacrosse and finally achieved it Friday night with a 16-11 victory over Dexter at Farmington High School.
The Marlins will play Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood in a Division 2 semifinal game at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Okemos High School.
“If we continue to play like we have the last two games, I think we’re going to be a very competitive team there,” Mercy coach Lindsay Hoyt said.
“We’re going to be facing a very tough team from the other region. Hopefully, we’ll go out and do the passing game and the shots like we did today. Hopefully, our goalie will perform like she did today and we’ll fare well.”
The Marlins (10-5) lost a one-sided game to the Cranes earlier in the season. Cranbrook Kingswood dominated Detroit County Day in the regional final Friday at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, 24-3.
“I think we’re a stronger team today,” Hoyt said. “We know the other teams are competing hard and have probably improved, so we just have to bring our best game.
“Cranbrook is just a solid team with a lot of top players. They’re going to be good competition and, hopefully, we’ll give them a good game.”
As in its previous game Wednesday, Mercy was a little slow to get rolling offensively, but it took charge of the game late in the first half.
Lilly Blake, Brooke Ottaway and Natalie Masopust combined to score the last three goals and give the Marlins a 9-5 lead at halftime.
Ottaway scored the first four for Mercy and finished with a game-high nine goals. Blake and Caitlin Somerville scored three apiece.
“We made some adjustments on her and slowed her down a little,” Dexter coach Mark Erber said of Ottaway. “When someone is that athletic and that good, it really takes an entire team effort. They played it better than us. I have to hand it to them.”
After conceding the first goal of the second half, Mercy scored the next three to double the score on Dexter, 12-6. Ottaway’s last goal made it 16-8 in the final minutes before the Dreadnaughts tallied the last three.
“It’s constantly passing and feeding,” Hoyt said of the Mercy offense. “Brooke had an amazing game, but many other players stepped up. Passes were made to the one who was open and that’s what got the points on the board.”
The loss snapped a nine-game winning streak for Dexter (15-4) and ended just its third season of lacrosse. Mackenzie Wagner and Sydney Swigart scored four goals apiece to lead the Dreadnaughts, who had beaten Livonia Ladywood, Mercy’s tournament nemesis in recent years, twice by 13-12 scores.
“A lot of it was experience,” Erber said. “We’re only a third-year program. Mercy has been around quite a long time. They play a little bit tougher schedule and competition. But I thought our girls did well. Going all the way to the regional final, I’ll take that any day.
“It’s a little disappointing to come this close. We’ll get these guys next year. They’re a well-coached team with a lot of athletes and good players, but it was nice to get here and see what we have to do for the next level.”
Mercy’s defense was sound again. With a 12-7 lead early in the second half, the Marlins frustrated Dexter for several minutes and prevented another goal. Mercy responded with three in a row.
Goalie Hannah Cohen made some key saves at that time. Somerville, Mary Allor, Bella Shrader, Ciara Lopus, Tori Ottinger, Erin Gormley, Blake, Maria Bowen and Michaela Goguen contributed defensively.
“That’s been our biggest point of emphasis this year,” Hoyt said. “We have a very young defense. It’s filled with sophomores and juniors and they’ve really stepped it up. In the last two games, they’ve showed how well they can play together.
“(The Dreadnaughts are) a young team and they did a really good job. They were good competition. For my girls, it was the passing within the offense and the shots that were made. Our defense really saved it back there and our goalie had a great game.”
Mercy’s last appearance in the state semifinals was 2009, when it lost to Flint Powers Catholic, the eventual runner-up to Okemos, 9-8.
“As long as we play our game, win or lose, our goal is to play a good Mercy game,” Hoyt said. “Hopefully, it will be the win.”
“Never getting this far before, it was uncharted territory for us,” Erber said. “We kind of gave up on ourselves a little in the middle. We were able to recover toward the end and make it little more respectable.”