Marian (4th), St. Catherine (2nd) repeat as CHSL girls field hockey champions

St. Catherine turned on the pressure from the start in shutting out Fr. Gabriel Richard for its second CHSL field hockey championship in a row. (Photo by Jeni Hubenschmidt)

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — It was the same old, same old for the championship round of CHSL girls field hockey played Saturday afternoon (Oct. 5) at Cranbrook Kingswood.

Bloomfield Hills Marian won the Bishop Trophy (formerly Central Division) for the fourth year in a row, and Wixom St. Catherine of Siena repeated as champ of the Cardinal Trophy (Double AA division).

Field hockey leaves this old sports scribe a bit confounded. I was warned that I’d hear a lot of whistle-blowing. There were tweets galore; by unofficial count, about a hundred in the two contests I watched. Each game is 60 minutes.

One umpire (that’s what officials in field hockey are called) told me that “mostly” the whistles are blown for “stick interference” violations, which can fit any one of numerous interpretations.

You wonder with the constant interruptions how coaches can design any semblance of strategy.

St. Catherine 1, Ann Arbor Fr. Gabriel Richard 0

From the get-go, St. Catherine’s defense didn’t allow Richard on its own side of the mid-field stripe until seven minutes had elapsed.

The Stars pressured the Irish’s junior goalie, Mary Rourke, until senior Elizabeth Lilley bounced the ball off the goalpost past Rourke for what turned out to be the game-winner with 1:40 to play in the first half.

Midway through the second half, senior forward Megan Cermak thought she had another goal for the Stars, but the umpires didn’t allow it on the basis Cermak used her stick in a dangerous way that lifted the ball shoulder high.

“We didn’t play our best,” coach Leti Rastigue said, “but enough to win. We have to work on communicating better and moving the ball more.”

She praised the defense led by seniors Kate Dewan, Madison Wasen and Lauren Jasinski. “Those three don’t like anyone near the goal.” Stars goalie Bella Lardin pitched the shutout.

“I thought we were evenly matched,” Richard coach Craig Flocken said. “We’re a turf team. Playing on grass slows the game down.”

The Fighting Irish qualified for the final by slipping past Ann Arbor Greenhills, 2-1, in a match that took two days to complete. On the preceding Wednesday, darkness forced a suspension of a 1-1 tie. The teams re-assembled two days later, on Friday, to play a 10-minute scoreless overtime and a deciding shootout.

Marian 2, Farmington Hills Mercy 0

“We wanted four for four,” said senior Kate Hughes. “We wanted to win (the Catholic League) four years in a row.”

The Mustangs achieved what they wished for in a most convincing manner, starting with the game just 70 seconds old when Hughes drilled the ball under the stick of Mercy goalie Gabi Micallef for a 1-0 lead.

Marian beat Mercy for its fourth straight CHSL girls field hockey championship to go along with four years of being undefeated in the Central Division. (Photo by Noelle Kotsakis)

Hughes was credited with another goal at 13:12. Tessy Klein shot the ball and, “I happened to be near the net. The ball hit me and went in.”

To Micallef's credit and the defenders in front of her, Marian was frustrated time and again from making the game a rout.

Mercy’s offense was non-existent. It had one shot on goal in the first half and didn’t penetrate within 25 yards of Marian’s net in the second half.

“They’re an excellent team,” Mercy coach Kristina Sikora said. “We had our best performance getting to the playoffs,” a 5-1 semifinal victory over Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett.

“We have a lot of senior experience,” Marian assistant coach Ceit Love said. “They’ve played under a lot of pressure (undefeated for four years in the CHSL) and know what to expect.”

The Michigan High School Athletic Association doesn’t sanction field hockey, so the nine girls teams from the CHSL will continue their season in the 32-member Michigan High School Field Hockey Association. Playoffs begin this week to determine a state champion by the end of the month.

In addition the schools mentioned above, the others are Cranbrook, Warren Regina and Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart.

Contact Don Horkey at [email protected].