Cranes Win Close When it Counts

June 8, 2013

By Dean Holzwarth
Special to Second Half

EAST GRAND RAPIDS – Before Saturday afternoon’s MHSAA Division 2 Final, the Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood boys lacrosse team had lost five games by one goal.

The Cranes reversed that trend in the most important game of the season, and celebrated the program’s first title since 2006 with a 10-9 win over defending champion Forest Hills Central at East Grand Rapids’ Memorial Field.

Cranbrook-Kingswood junior Matthew Giampetroni scored the game winner with 20.2 seconds left in regulation to snap a 9-9 tie.

“We’ve played a lot of one-goal games this year, so we were used to playing in these games,” Giampetroni said. “I think we learned a lot from those tough losses we had earlier in the year. We were confident.”

The Cranes suffered heartbreaking defeats against Detroit U-D Jesuit, Detroit Country Day, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, Detroit Catholic Central and Clarkston.

“Losing all those one-goal games, we learned a lot, especially the overtime ones,” Cranbrook-Kingswood coach Mat Wilson said. “If it had stayed tied and went to overtime, I think from those experiences, we would’ve been in good shape.”

The Cranes got a bit of redemption against Forest Hills Central after being routed 15-5 in the final regular-season game.

The rematch played out much differently.

“We were tired that game, they took it to us early and we struggled a little bit on that day,” Giampetroni said. “That was on our minds, and we wanted to prove we could play with them. They are a strong team, and I think the best team we’ve played, but we played well today and got the win.”

Giampetroni’s goal, which trickled past goalie Kyrn Stoddard, stemmed a late Rangers’ charge.

Forest Hills Central rallied from a 9-6 deficit with fewer than seven minutes remaining in the fourth period.

A goal by Forest Hills Central’s Neil Cunnigham tied it at 9-9.   

“We got it close and had some momentum, but it was squashed with that goal with 20 seconds left,” Rangers coach Tony Quinn said. “Our goalie made a nice play on it, but the momentum of the shot carried it over.”

Said Giampetroni: “I saw it go over the goal line, and I was hoping they saw what I was seeing. I was excited, but I needed to contain it because we still had 20 seconds left and we needed to finish it.”

Wilson said the parity of the division was evident in the Finals.

“We could’ve easily shown up today and they could’ve beaten us 15-5 again; they are that good,” he said. “But that’s what is cool about this year. Everybody had a chance at this thing going into it.”

Forest Hills Central (17-4) was aiming to defend its MHSAA championship from last season, when it beat Detroit Country Day 7-6 for the program’s third title.

Instead, the Rangers were handed their second loss in a Final. They finished runner-up to East Grand Rapids in 2008.

“It’s our goal every year (to win an MHSAA championship), and we tied it up with a minute to go and we had the ball,” Quinn said. “We felt like it was going to be our day, and it wasn’t. It’s hard, and it’s going to take us a while to get over it.

“Credit to Cranbrook, they played great today, and hopefully this will give us some incentive to get after it again next year.”

FHC fell behind 3-0 in the first period, but scored three straight goals in a span of two minutes to pull ahead 5-4.

Cranbrook-Kingswood answered with its own run to end the half, and the Rangers trailed 7-5.

The Rangers had an opportunity to send the game to overtime in the waning seconds, but misfired on a high shot as the clock ticked away.

“They are an explosive offensive team, and even with 10 seconds we knew we had to lock down defensively and focus,” Wilson said.

Two of Forest Hills Central’s three losses were against teams from Indiana. Its lone in-state loss before Saturday was to East Grand Rapids.

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PHOTO: Cranbrook-Kingswood's Jason Miller (11) circles the goal while the Rangers give chase Saturday.

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.”

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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.