July 10, 2019

Helping Michigan Women’s Lax Make History, PHS Alumna Shane Enjoys Special Final Season

HISTORIC FINISH: Mira Shane guards the net for the University of Michigan women’s lacrosse this spring in her senior campaign. Former Princeton High star Shane helped Michigan enjoy the best season in program history as it rose to No. 8 in the national rankings and made the NCAA tournament for the first time. The Wolverines advanced to the second round of the national tourney and ended with a 16-4 record. Shane, for her part, set Michigan program career records in wins (24), career saves (360) and career save percentage (.451). This spring, Shane made 19 starts with a goals against average of 9.99 and 139 saves. She was named as an Inside Lacrosse honorable mention All-American and a Tewaaraton Award Nominee. (Photo provided courtesy of Michigan Photography)

By Bill Alden

Even though the University of Michigan women’s lacrosse team posted a pedestrian 7-10 record in 2018, Mira Shane sensed the Wolverines were primed to step up this spring.

“We had an awesome fall ball season,” said former Princeton High star goalie Shane. “I think from there, we were ‘let’s go, this can really be our year.’”

After spending her first three years as a part-time starter, Shane was ready to produce an awesome final campaign.

“I was going to finish this out the only way I know how, and that is to give 110% of myself, just keep working hard and keep my head down and grind,” said Shane, who made a total of 21 starts in her first three seasons.

“I think everybody on my team took that mentality to the best of their ability.”

Employing that mentality, Shane and her teammates got off to a 13-0 start, turning heads in the lacrosse world.

“This year was just one for the books, I am just so thankful to the coaches that we had and to my teammates,” said the 5’5 Shane.

“We just rallied around each other and it wasn’t about looking back to the past and what had happened. It was about moving forward with a championship-minded team that knew how to win. It just started working and we were undefeated and it got to 7-0, 8-0, all of us look back, myself included, wow, we are 10-0.”

The Wolverines rose to No. 8 in the national rankings before suffering their first loss of then campaign when they fell 14-3 to second-ranked and eventual national champion Maryland on April 6.

“At once it was surprising and overwhelming but for me, it was just thrilling and it motivated me even more to want to step up and play to the ability that the rest of these top 10 teams are playing at,” said Shane, looking back on the team’s rise up the rankings.

“I have always loved a big stage. Our coach, Hannah Nielsen, has won four national championships and was a two-time Teewaraton winner so that also motivated me. She taught us how to win and to step up for that stage.”

When Michigan was named as the eighth seed for the NCAA tournament, it didn’t realize where that put it on the national stage.

“We had a little watch party and all of us were shocked to even know that we had gotten a home game,” said Shane with a chuckle, noting that the program had never made the national tourney before this spring.

“We knew that we got the No. 8 seed but we are so new to this that we didn’t know that what that meant. Our coach said ‘I thought you guys knew that meant we are hosting’ and then we just rejoiced again because it was like living a dream.”

Taking advantage of playing at home, Michigan defeated Jacksonville 13-9 in an opening round contest as Shane made 14 saves. The Wolverines had one more game in Ann Arbor but things didn’t turn out so well as they fell 9-5 to Denver in the second round with Shane making 11 saves in her finale as Michigan finished with a 16-4 record.

“To have the privilege to be able to play on my home field was something really special too in my senior year,” said Shane.

“It was special for me to end my career at home when we had been undefeated that whole season.”

Shane enjoyed a special senior season, making 19 starts with a 13-4 record,  a goals against average of 9.99, and 139 saves. She was named as an Inside Lacrosse honorable mention All-American, an IWLCA (Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association) All-Region second-team selection, and a Tewaaraton Award Nominee.

“It speaks magnitudes to the other goalies who are competing with me each and every day and my teammates who have pushed me,” said Shane, who set Michigan program records in career wins (24), career saves (360) and career save percentage (.451).

“Those were little goals that I wanted to meet that were in there back of my mind. But the real big goals were to play to the best of my ability that I could, whether that was in practice or a game or whether that was on the sideline. I was trying to be the best person I could be while I was representing Michigan”

Being a member of the a cappella group, 58 Greene, and and having been a U-M Athletic Academic Achievement award recipient, Shane represented Michigan well in a number of capacities. 

“I am so proud to have been a part of a program like Michigan lacrosse and to leave a legacy and a foundation,” said Shane.

“It was just the learning things that I got a person, not only an athlete, but being able to juggle a cappella with lacrosse and academics at a school like Michigan. I tried to leave everything I had on the field with every game that we played. I take pride in that and I also thank the people around me because I would not have able to do it without them.”

In reflecting on what she has been able to do, Shane owes a big thank you to her parents, Max Shane and Wendy Wright.

“My parents have been so invested in my career from my first lacrosse game,” said Shane, who will be starting a career with Anheuser-Busch later this month, working for its people operations team.

“My dad never even played lacrosse and he is that guy who is passing a lacrosse ball using a baseball mitt. It was those little moments that have made me the lacrosse player that I am. I just tried to keep in the forefront of my brain and it propelled me to play at the next level this year for sure.”

In so doing, Shane has blazed a trail as former PHS teammate Mariana Lopez-Ona will be joining the Michigan program this fall to be followed next year by a second Tiger standout, Shaylah Marciano.

“I am super excited to see what they have in store; the program is really going to be a great match for them,” said Shane. “Those are two really strong players. I have seen them grow up and think they are going to have a fantastic career.”

No matter how well Lopez-Ona and Marciano play, they will have a tough time matching what Shane accomplished in her Michigan career.