MEDINA — The Medina girls lacrosse team has already proved it is the best in Ohio, winning the last three Division I state championships. On Sunday, the Bees showed they are ready to face challenges from across state lines.
Sophomore Alyssa Rydell scored the winning goal with 4:53 to play as Medina defeated East Grand Rapids 9-8 in a highly anticipated showdown of the No. 1 teams from Ohio and Michigan at Kenneth Dukes Stadium.
“We’ve heard all spring how good they were and how every player on their team was really good, so we wanted to come out and play hard from the first five seconds of the game,” said junior Amanda Rom, who had two first-half goals for the Bees. “Ohio and Michigan are rivals in everything, and we feel like we showed today that Ohio is pretty strong in lacrosse.”
Medina (10-0-2) fell behind 1-0 but rattled off four unanswered goals, beginning with Sarah Vanadia beating Pioneers goalkeeper Kristy Allen off of an 8-meter free possession at the 21:18 mark of the first half. Cassie Hudson-Heck scored the first of her two goals with 19 seconds to play in the half to give the Bees a 5-3 lead.
East Grand Rapids (10-2), the defending Michigan Division II state champion, has not lost to an in-state team since 2011.
The Bees did all the little things in the first half, winning 7-of-9 draws, owning a 15-4 advantage in groundballs and earning seven 8-meter free positions. All of that seemed to disappear for much of the final 25 minutes, as the Pioneers eventually tied the game at 8 with 8:14 left.
“East Grand Rapids played good, hard defense — the kind of defense you see at the college level — and that took a little bit of the wind away from us for a while, but we are a scrappy team,” Medina coach Amanda Wilson said. “We like to say we are ‘20 strong’ because we have 20 girls on our roster and they can all contribute. I think that showed today.”
After Rydell put her team back on top, Medina won the ensuing draw and went into a stall, maintaining possession for all but 9 seconds until the final horn sounded.
“We were trying to spread the offense out and look for a good shot,” Rydell said about the play that ended in her second goal of the game. “I got the ball and had a wide open lane so I drove in and took the shot and thank goodness it went in.”
Sunday’s win concluded a 2-0-1 weekend for Medina. On Saturday the Bees defeated Okamos (MI) 9-8 and tied No. 6 New Albany 12-12.
Contact Todd Shapiro at email@example.com.