Left, Bridgette Champane. RIght, Shannon Novak
August 14, 2014Grosse Pointe South 2014 graduates Bridgett Champane and Shannon Novak finished their high school athletic careers by earning First Team All-State this spring.
Each excelled at their position on the field and displayed their talents in the Michigan High School Senior Showcase Hall of Fame Game at Detroit Country Day this summer.
Champane was a prolific goal scorer and was named MLive Detroit Player of the Year for girls' lacrosse. She scored 89 goals and 18 assists for 107 points in the Blue Devils' 14 games this spring. Novak was one of the best goalkeepers in the state and finished with a goals against average of less than 10 per game.
The girls have been friends since attending elementary school at St. Paul's.
The friendship has blossomed into a closeness which resembles being sisters.
They have gone to school together for a dozen years, but that will change this fall when they go separate ways when they head to college.
Champane is going to Robert Morris University in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Novak is heading to Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn.
If they take I-79 South, the drive is seven hours and 43 minutes between the campuses.
Despite enrolling at different universities, each is playing women's lacrosse and share the bond of athletics at the next level.
"I chose Robert Morris my junior year because I like the city-feel to the campus and it is a relatively newer program," the 18-year-old Champane said. "I had other D1 and D2 offers, but this is the college I liked the best when I made my visits and it feels right."
The Colonials finished 11-6 in the spring and 5-2 in the Northeast Conference competing against Sacred Heart, LIU Brooklyn, Bryant, Central Connecticut State, Saint Francis University, Wagner and Mount St. Mary's. They ended the season with a conference tournament semifinal loss to Wagner.
Head coach Katy Phillips should field another solid team next spring with Champane moving from her forward position to an offensive-defenseman role.
"Moving to a more defensive spot on the field is OK with me," Champane said. "I want to get on the field and contribute any way I can. I can still use my offensive skills, but I think I can learn to play a more all-around game under coach Phillips here at Robert Morris.
"I'm excited to get going."
For Novak, she is part of the first women's lax program at Lincoln Memorial. The Railsplitters will play in the South Atlantic Conference.
Catawba, Lenoir-Rhyne, Newberry, Queens, Wingate and Coker will be in the conference, along with Lincoln Memorial under head coach Caitlyn Corace.
"I'm excited to be part of this new lacrosse program," the 18-year-old Novak said. "I fell in love with the school when I made my visit and I think we can surprise some people next year. We are all working toward the goal of playing in a winning program."
Other D2 and D3 programs were interested in Novak, but in the end she chose to head to Tennessee for her college experience.
Both Champane and Novak work hard to be the best lax players they can be. They work out together on and off the field, pushing each other beyond what it takes to be the best.
The duo and their Blue Devils teammates had a great season. It ended with a tough playoff loss to Bloomfield Hills, but they both agreed their biggest win of the season came against highly-touted Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood.
"Beating Cranbrook was great for us and we pounded them," Champane said. "I wish we would have performed better in our playoff game, but that didn't happen."
"We had a nice season up until the playoffs," Novak said. "I don't know why we played so poorly against a team we could beat, but for some reason we came out flat. However, it was a successful season."
First-year head coach Alysca Valentine did a nice job with the program and one thing Champane and Novak did was play in the 7-on-7 fall league.
Each had success with their Blue Devils teammates and the success and high expectations carried over to the spring.
In addition, both played on club lacrosse teams, which helped them improve their skills to the level where they are playing at the next level, college.
"We always wanted to pick everyone up and that was our job as captains," Novak said. "We had a lot of fun being teammates for so many years. I will miss playing on Bridgette's team, but at least we will be able to hang out on breaks and during the summers while we are in college."
"I'm going to miss Shannon, but at least we can still communicate through a number of ways, so that is a positive," Champane said. "We will both be busy, but not too busy to call or text."
Champane finished South with a 3.6 grade point average and is majoring in marketing with a minor in finance. She wants to pursue a career in the sports field, focusing on lacrosse. She reports to Robert Morris Aug. 21.
Novak had a 3.8 grade point average and wants to pursue a career in criminal justice, her major, with a minor in psychology. She reports to Lincoln Memorial Aug. 14.