Margin Smaller, but Rice Streak Lives On

June 11, 2016

By Bill Khan
Special for Second Half

HOWELL — Ideally, the morning of a championship game arrives with as little stress as possible.

But junior Nick Dudley didn't catch a break with the timing of two important events in his life.

On the day that he took the field in the MHSAA Division 1 lacrosse championship game, he had to get up early and take the ACT test at Royal Oak Shrine High School.

"I think I did pretty well," said Dudley, who cites English as his strongest subject.

He will find out for sure soon enough.

But there is no disputing his performance on the lacrosse field later in the day.

Dudley completed his test at noon, was on the team bus to Howell at 1 p.m. and scored four goals for Birmingham Brother Rice in a 10-8 victory over rival Detroit Catholic Central on Saturday at Parker Middle School.

It was Dudley's first championship as a participating player, after being brought up to the varsity for last year's tournament. It was the 12th for Brother Rice in as many MHSAA tournaments. Only East Grand Rapids' boys swimming and diving team (15 straight in Class B-C-D from 1948-62) and Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett's boys tennis team (13 straight in Class C from 1972-84) have won more consecutive MHSAA titles.

"There's pressure every single day," said senior Morgan Macko, who made huge contributions in Rice's last three championship victories. "We don't want to break the chain."

"Going into my senior year, there's pressure, but you've got to overcome it and keep going," Dudley said.

Chances are, Catholic Central will have a say in whether or not Rice's championship streak reaches 13.

The Shamrocks (17-5) have lost to Rice in the last three Division 1 championship games, and are 0-6 all-time against the Warriors in the Final.

Catholic Central was blown out 23-7 in 2014 and 16-7 in 2015. Rice's average margin of victory in the previous six MHSAA Finals was 8.7 goals.

"I will say, from our perspective, it's not a matter of if, it's just a matter of when," 11th-year Shamrocks coach Dave Wilson said. "We feel confident in that. We are working very hard. My hat's off to Brother Rice. They played a phenomenal game. They're a fantastic team, but we will carry on."

The only Michigan team to beat Brother Rice since the MHSAA began sponsoring lacrosse in 2005 was Detroit Country Day, which won 8-7 in overtime in a regular-season game on April 16, 2014. The Warriors are 174-1 against in-state teams during that span, including 59-0 during MHSAA tournament games.

Few of those 59 victories were as tightly contested as Saturday's.

"It speaks to the expansion of lacrosse across Michigan," Macko said. "It's great for everyone. It's definitely a little more stressful, but that's what makes it fun. You can't complain about a game like this. Everyone likes to see a game like that. It's awesome winning by so much, but it's great for everyone when it's a close game."

Catholic Central, which lost 11-5 and 14-7 to Brother Rice during the regular season, established an early tone by scoring the first goal on a shot by sophomore Peter Thompson with 7:11 left in the first quarter. It was the only lead the Shamrocks would possess, but the score was tied five times and the margin was one goal or less for the first 29 minutes of the game.

Thompson finished with four goals.

"You want to feed the guy that's hungry and the ball's going in the net," Wilson said. "If we had more opportunities to get him the ball, we could've done a little more."

While Dudley and Thompson filled the net, the goal-scoring stars from last year's Division 1 Final performed admirably as set-up men.

Macko, whose 11 goals over the last two MHSAA Finals are a two-game record, had one goal and four assists for Rice (20-2). Catholic Central's Rocco Mularoni, who scored five goals in last year's Final, had no goals and three assists.

"The past two state championship games, there wasn't much individual effort on those goals," Macko said. "It was all teammates setting me up. I was in the right place at the right time. That really benefitted me. Today, it was Nick Dudley in the right place at the right time. That was huge for us."

The Macko-to-Dudley combination struck for back-to-back goals after Catholic Central's Collin Burgin tied it 5-5 just 33 seconds into the third quarter.

Dudley scored two goals one minute apart off passes by Macko to make it 7-5 with 6:53 left in the third for the first two-goal lead of the game.

"His vision is amazing," Dudley said of Macko. "It was him."

The Warriors broke it open to 8-5 on Ryan Scott's second goal of the game with 5:38 left in the third.

The Shamrocks weren't ready to concede another championship to Rice, however, getting within 8-7 with 3:52 left in the third on goals by Brennan Kamish and Thompson just 28 seconds apart.

Macko's only goal, on a patient individual effort around the net, made it 9-7 heading into the final quarter.

Cole Hyde re-established a three-goal lead for Rice with 7:41 remaining. Kamish's second goal got Catholic Central within 10-8 with 4:33 left. Mularoni rang a shot off the post with 3:03 left and Thompson had a shot stopped by goalie Teddy Lievois with 2:23 to go.

Rice was able to milk the clock down to 30 seconds following that save, leaving the Shamrocks no time for a comeback.

"They came in, they were inspired," Rice coach Ajay Chawla said. "We fought hard. CC's going to play hard against Rice every time they come in. We expected it. Coach Wilson did a nice job getting those guys ready. At the end of the day, we knew we were going to have a dogfight on our hands. The nice thing is we've played tough teams this year. We've been in these situations. Our guys were able to pull it out."

Lievois finished with eight saves. Catholic Central's Hunter Braun made 13.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Brother Rice's Morgan Macko (13) works to stuff a shot past the Detroit Catholic Central defense. (Middle) Jack O'Hara gathers a ground ball for the Warriors.

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.