Preview: League Rematches Reloaded

June 10, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

No. 1 will take on No. 2 in both MHSAA Boys Lacrosse Finals on Saturday at Howell’s Parker Middle School.

It just so happens that both championship games will pit opponents who already have faced each other twice this season with league titles on the line.

Brother Rice downed Detroit Catholic Central 11-5 and 14-7 in Detroit Catholic League A play, and they’ll face off once more in the Division 1 Final at 4:30 p.m. Starting the day at 2 p.m. in Division 2 will be Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central and East Grand Rapids, with the Rangers looking to add a third win to their 15-9 and 14-13 victories in Ottawa-Kent Conference Tier I play this spring.

Both Finals will be broadcast on, available with subscription, with audio available on Click for more information, including all tournament results.

Below is a look at all four contenders, with player statistics through Regional Finals.

Division 1

Record/rank: 19-2, No. 1 at end of regular-season
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic High School League A
Coach: Ajay Chawla, third season (57-10) 
Championship history: 11 MHSAA championships (most recent 2015). 
Best wins: 9-6 over No. 6 Clarkston in Regional Final, 16-3 over No. 9 Midland in Regional Semifinal, 11-5 and 14-7 over No. 2 Detroit Catholic Central, 8-3 over No. 3 Detroit Country Day, 13-9 over Division 2 No. 2 East Grand Rapids.
Players to watch: Morgan Macko, sr. A (70 goals, 55 assists); Riley North, sr. A (49 goals, 38 assists); Jack Kelly, jr. M (47 goals, 16 assists).
Outlook: Brother Rice has played through a couple closer games than perhaps usual this spring – but is again the heavy favorite as it seeks to continue its sweep of every Division 1 title since the tournament was started more than a decade ago. The only losses this spring were twice to Indiana powerhouse Culver Military Academy, and the Warriors took on and beat some of the best from Ohio and Illinois as well. Macko is finishing off one of the most productive runs in MHSAA lacrosse history and also starred the last two seasons.

Record/rank: 17-4, No. 2 at end of regular season
League finish: Second in Detroit Catholic High School League A
Coach: Dave Wilson, 11th season (149-71) 
Championship history: Division 1 runner-up five times (most recent 2015).
Best wins: 13-5 over No. 3 Detroit County Day in the Semifinal, 13-5 over No. 7 Brighton, 16-10 over Division 2 No. 2 East Grand Rapids, 17-10 over Division 2 No. 3 Okemos.
Players to watch:
  Rocco Mularoni, sr. A; Justin Baker, sr. A; Brennan Kamish, jr. M (Statistics not submitted.)
Outlook: DCC will play in its third straight Final trying to break the hold of rival Brother Rice on Division 1. Seven seniors start for a team with plenty of big-game experience; midfielder Alex Jarzembowski is another veteran standout among many. Similar to Brother Rice, DCC also played strong programs from other states and Ontario. The Shamrocks have shown the ability to lock down top teams; they held opponents to fewer than 10 goals in all but six games and have given up only 11 goals total over four postseason games.

Division 2

15-5, No. 2 at end of regular season
League finish: Second in O-K Conference Tier 1
Coach: Rick DeBlasio, fourth season (first of second tenure; 48-13 overall)
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2009), three runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 16-15 (2OT) over No. 3 Okemos in the Semifinal, 9-3 and 9-3 (Regional Final) over No. 4 Ada Forest Hills Eastern, 8-6 over No. 5 Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, 6-4 and 9-7 over Division 1 No. 5 Rockford, 15-5 over Division 1 No. 3 Detroit Country Day, 16-5 over Division 1 No. 10 Ann Arbor Pioneer.
Players to watch: Hub Hejna, jr. A (67 goals, 30 assists); Matt Solberg, sr. A (43 goals, 49 assists); Ben Keller, jr. A (46 goals, 15 assists).
Outlook: East Grand Rapids will play in its first championship game since finishing runner-up in 2011, and has taken on plenty of strong teams to prepare. The losses came to Brother Rice, Detroit Catholic Central, twice to Forest Hills Central and to Okemos in the season opener – and the Pioneers avenged that loss Wednesday. Those four teams are the only ones to score more than seven goals on the Pioneers this season. DeBlasio formerly coached the team from 2002-04.

Record/rank: 19-2, No. 1 at end of regular season
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Tier 1
Coach: Jake Seiler, second season (36-5)
Championship history: Two MHSAA titles (most recent 2012), two runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 15-9 and 14-13 over No. 2 East Grand Rapids, 17-8 over No. 3 Okemos, 20-8 over Division 1 No. 5 Rockford.
Players to watch: Bryce Clay, soph. D (95 goals, 53 assists); Tanner Hallock, jr. A (51 goals, 34 assists); Max Kuiper, sr. A (38 goals, 28 assists).
Outlook: Second-year coach Seiler has Forest Hills Central back in a Final for the first time since finishing runner-up in 2013 and after having lost this season only to Country Day in double overtime and Culver. Although Clay is the most productive scorer, there’s lots of balance with six Rangers tallying at least 20 goals heading into the week – and plenty of help in goal as senior Kadin Schermers and freshman Jack Nolan have combined to give up six goals per game this spring.

PHOTO: Brother Rice's Cole Hyde moves the ball upfield during last season's Division 1 Final against Detroit Catholic Central. 

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.