Brother Rice Comes Back, Adds to Streak

June 8, 2013

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for Second Half

EAST GRAND RAPIDS – Few players get the opportunity to end a season with an MHSAA championship.

After Saturday’s 14-10 win over Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern/Eastern, Birmingham Brother Rice senior Sergio Perkovic has done it six times.

Yes, six times.

Brother Rice claimed its ninth MHSAA Finals title in a row with the victory at East Grand Rapids’ Memorial Field, and Perkovic has been a part of the last four.

He also won a pair of titles in football as a junior and this past fall. He played defensive end and tight end.  

“There’s no better way of ending a season than winning a state championship,” said Perkovic, who scored three goals against FHN/E. “And since I’ve been at Brother Rice, I’ve been fortunate in more than one sport. To just end my career with a win, there’s no better feeling.”

While the Warriors have dominated the landscape since boys lacrosse became an MHSAA sport, coach Robert Ambrose said each team makes its own mark on the program.

“Every year is different, I think, and it’s not about anything behind us or in the past,” he said. “It’s all about the future, and we don’t take anything for granted. We are very humble in our approach to the game, and on any given day, especially in lacrosse, anything can happen.

“We were fortunate to come out on top, and they played passionate and they played great. We played a very hard-fought game.”

Perkovic said the team doesn’t feel the pressure of continuing the program’s successful tradition each year.

Brother Rice is solely fixated on the present.

“We don’t think about that, and we try to work as hard as we can in the offseason and play a good season,” he said. “If we put our work in, then we’ll have a good chance of doing it again. We just get prepared for each season.”

The Warriors started slowly in Saturday’s Final and fell behind 3-0 in the first period.

They recovered with a superb second period, and tallied four answered goals in the final six minutes of the first half to turn a one-goal deficit into a 9-6 lead at the half.

“It’s always a tough match, especially in the state finals, and it doesn’t matter who we are playing,” Perkovic said. “Forest Hills came out flying, but we brought it back and came together offensively as a senior group.”

FHN/E was hoping to become the first team from Michigan to defeat Brother Rice.  

“We had two goals for the whole season,” FHN/E coach Mark Lardieri said. “One was to be the first team in Michigan to beat Brother Rice in 11 years, and one was to win a state championship. We had it lined up perfectly today to do it, but we couldn’t close the door.”

FHN/E kept the game close throughout the second half, but never regained the advantage.

“I’m extremely proud of how far we came to get here,” said FHN/E senior Connor Sullivan, who scored two goals. “We had a lot of injuries and a lot of things going on this season, but we just pulled together in the playoffs and got it done to get here.”

Junior Jason Alessi led Brother Rice with six goals and six assists.

“This was a home game for them, so we knew they were going to come out firing and they got up 3-0,” Alessi said. “But then we began to move around and get shots. I was trying to get open, and my teammates were looking for me.”

Sophomore keeper Grant Lardieri stopped 12 shots for FHN/E, which ended the season with a 15-8 record.

Sean Scadron had nine saves for Brother Rice, which finished 18-5 with all five of its losses coming against out-of-state teams.

Click for a full box score. 

PHOTOS: (Top) Brother Rice's James Crowe (14) works to get around Forest Hills Northern/Eastern's Bennett Dipzinski on Saturday. (Middle) Joe Dudley (9) attempts to block FHN/E goalie Grant Lardieri as he looks to pass.

Quick 2nd-Half Strike Sparks Detroit Catholic Central to Comeback Win

By Drew Ellis
Special for

June 8, 2024

ANN ARBOR – The Detroit Catholic Central offense knew what it was capable of – but just needed to show it.

After being shut out in the first period of Saturday’s MHSAA Division 1 boys lacrosse championship game at University of Michigan, and trailing 6-3 at the break, the Shamrocks needed a spark.

That spark came in the form of a Lachlan Moffatt goal just 13 seconds into the second half, which started an 11-2 run for DCC on the way to a 14-8 victory.

“Hartland was playing really well. We just weren’t capitalizing, which is really kind of strange for us. I think when we got that first goal of the third quarter, that really changed the complexion of the whole thing,” Detroit Catholic Central coach Dave Wilson said.

Even after the Moffatt goal, the Shamrocks (21-3) still didn’t take the lead until late in the third quarter. Senior midfielder Matthew Aleva would fire off a laser that found the back of the net with 4:14 to play in the period, tying the game at 7-7.

Minutes later, Aleva would take a pass from Moffatt and find the net again to give the Shamrocks their first lead – one they wouldn’t relinquish.

A Hartland player brings the ball upfield while DCC's Brody Wojcik defends.“They were big and I knew we needed to swing the energy on to our side,” Aleva said of his two goals. “We had to rally back and come out in the second half with a Game-7 mentality. We found that energy and we made sure to play the way we know we could.”

The Shamrocks won all 14 faceoffs in the second half, which allowed them to control possession most of the final two periods and take a 32-8 shot advantage over Hartland (19-4).

“Faceoffs had a lot to do with it. At the end of the day, (Catholic Central) had a couple of strong draw guys who are really talented players,” Hartland coach Nick Levanti said. “You have to come out with other ways to win, whether it is winning possessions, winning ground balls, tying it up, clearing better. Ultimately, I felt (Catholic Central) came out hungrier to do those little things.”

It was Hartland that looked hungrier during the first half. The Eagles took a 3-0 lead after a quarter of play, thanks in large part to the play of freshman goalie Nate Anderer. He made six saves in the first period and finished with 19 for the game.

“He’s always locked in, and he’s a great player,” Levanti said of Anderer. “That’s a performance you can expect him to give. He has that type of capability in any game.”

With Catholic Central not finding the net at its accustomed frequency, it relied less on its passing to score and worked individual battles. Seven of the 11 second-half goals were unassisted. 

“Every game takes on its own personality. We weren’t moving off-ball well, so guys had to really take it on their own and stick the ball in the net, and they did,” Wilson said.

The Shamrocks' Matthew Aleva (30) makes a move as Hartland's Mark Alarcon defends. Luke Zajdel led Catholic Central in scoring with five goals, four of which came in the second half. Moffatt finished with three goals and two assists, while Francisco Williams and Aleva each had two goals.

Hartland was led by Dylan Ayotte, who had two goals. Easton Culver had one goal and two assists for the Eagles.

Saturday marked the first time the Division 1 Final didn’t feature Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice. The Warriors had appeared in every D1 Final since the sport received MHSAA sponsorship in 2005.

The only two Finals Brother Rice had lost came against Catholic Central (2018) and Hartland (2022), respectively.

Catholic Central became the first program aside from Rice to win multiple MHSAA Division 1 titles.

“It’s sheer dedication to try and get to this game every year,” Wilson said. “It requires a ton of commitment and skill and unselfishness and learning how to be coachable. These guys did it. We felt that early on, that these guys had the potential to do that.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Detroit Catholic Central celebrates its Division 1 championship Saturday. (Middle) A Hartland player brings the ball upfield while DCC's Brody Wojcik defends. (Below) The Shamrocks' Matthew Aleva (30) makes a move as Hartland's Braden Streight defends.