East Grand Rapids lacrosse teams one win from a return to finals

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- East Grand Rapids is the only high school in West Michigan with both their girls and boys lacrosse teams playing in the state semifinals this week.

On the boys team, senior Jacob Rogers said it's engrained in their culture. "Having the guys and the girls programs be such a prolific part of our school and our school`s history means a lot here. And the students really respect that and the players really respect them. And that`s why we have such a strong program because kids want to play here."

But boys head coach Rick Blasio said they know it takes a lot of hard work. "We respect the tradition and we`re very proud of it but it`s not something we take for granted."

The boys are looking to defend their state title,after beating Forest Hills Central last season in the state finals. A feat they won't soon forget.

"It`s always something in the back of our minds. You want to take the season one game at a time obviously, but they beat us two years ago and two beat them last year so for the seniors this is kind of our third match for all the marbles, " Rogers added.

And if it does end up being a rematch between EGR and FHC in the finals, the Pioneers are embracing the pressure according to senior defenseman Drew Thomas.

"Everyone thinks we are the underdogs coming in Saturday. I mean I don`t think any of us think we`re the underdogs. I think we know how good they are, we know it`s gonna be a good game."

Meanwhile, the East Grand Rapids girls team is on the other side of the equation. They are hoping to get a shot at avenging their loss to Cranbrook last season.

Head coach Rich Axtell saying they really respect both Cranbrook and Okemos. "It`s been a long tradition between these teams. We`ve had a lot of great battles over the years and I`m certain that Wednesday is gonna be a great battle and if we get past that it`ll be a great battle on Saturday because the last two games have come down to the wire and I don`t expect these games to be any different."

The EGR boys team faces Grosse Pointe North on Wednesday at 4pm in Howell and the EGR girls play Okemos at 5:30pm in Hudsonville.

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