Preview: New Champions Guaranteed as U-M Welcomes Boys Lacrosse Finals

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

June 7, 2024

Both MHSAA Boys Lacrosse Finals on Saturday will crown new champions – and one contender is seeking to clinch a title for the first time in its program’s history.

Those opportunities were created when Hartland defeated reigning Division 1 champion Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice to advance, and Ada Forest Hills Eastern ended a repeat attempt in Division 2 by Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central. A championship Saturday also would be the first in FHE history – but the Hawks must take on 2023 runner-up Detroit Country Day, which won their regular-season meeting 11 weeks ago. Hartland faces reigning Division 1 runner-up Detroit Catholic Central, the first time these two will meet for a Finals title.

Both games will be played at University of Michigan Lacrosse Stadium for the first time, and below is a glance at all four contenders. Rankings as part of “best wins” are based on the Michigan Power Rating formula. Tickets cost $11 and are good for both games, and may be purchased online only at GoFan.

Both games will be broadcast and available with subscription from

Division 1

Record/MPR: 20-3, No. 2
League finish: First in Catholic High School League Central
Coach: Dave Wilson, 19th season (269-99)
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2018, nine runner-up finishes.

Best wins: 16-5 over No. 1 Rockford in Semifinal, 19-4 over No. 8 Brighton in Quarterfinal, 15-2 over No. 5 Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice, 13-3 over No. 7 Birmingham Seaholm, 10-8 over Division 2 No. 1 Detroit Country Day, 17-8 over Division 2 No. 2 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central.
Players to watch:
 Joe Curtin, sr. D; Charles Graves, sr. G; Lachlan Moffatt, jr. A. (Statistics not submitted.)
Outlook: DCC returned to the championship game last year for the first time since 2019 and has dominated this spring, suffering its only in-state loss to Brother Rice 16-10 on April 9 but avenging it in the CHSL Central championship game a month later. The other two losses were by a goal apiece to Ohio powers Cincinnati St. Xavier and Dublin Jerome (the latter in overtime). Those three defeats were three of only four games during which the Shamrocks gave up more than eight goals; they’ve given up two or fewer in nine wins. Moffatt, Curtin and Graves all made the all-state second team last season.

Record/MPR: 19-3, No. 4
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association West
Coach: Nick Levanti, fifth season (80-12)
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2022, runner-up 2021.
Best wins: 11-10 over No. 5 Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice in Semifinal, 17-2 (Quarterfinal) and 14-13 (2OT) over No. 3 Lake Orion, 17-6 over No. 8 Brighton, 12-9 over Division 2 No. 4 East Grand Rapids, 11-7 over Division 2 No. 2 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central.
Players to watch:
 Dylan Ayotte, sr. A (44 goals, 16 assists); Jacob Ross, sr. A (67 goals, 23 assists); Drew Lockwood, sr. M (64 goals, 59 assists); Jake Lewis, sr. A (69 goals, 40 assists).
Outlook: After breaking through the DCC/Brother Rice hold on the Division 1 Final in 2021, Hartland will now make its third championship game appearance over the last four seasons and after avenging a mid-April loss to Brother Rice to get here. The other defeats came to Rockford by a goal in double overtime and also to St. Xavier, and the Eagles otherwise have mostly dominated as well with 10 wins giving up three or fewer goals including their first four of the postseason. Lockwood made the all-state first team in 2023, and Ayotte and Ross both made the second team.

Division 2

Record/MPR: 16-4, No. 3
League finish: Third in Ottawa-Kent Conference Tier 1
Coach: Tony Boggiano, second season (30-9)
Championship history: Division 1 runner-up 2021 and 2019, Division 1 runner-up 2013 and 2011 as part of cooperative with Forest Hills Northern.
Best wins: 11-10 over No. 2 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central in Semifinal, 13-8 over No. 4 East Grand Rapids, 17-9 over No. 5 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, 16-9 over No. 7 Byron Center, 17-5 over No. 10 Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, 14-1 over Division 1 No. 7 Birmingham Seaholm.
Players to watch:
 Preston Hoexum, sr. A (72 goals, 34 assists); Will Morgan, sr. A (60 goals, 32 assists); Jackson Arnold, jr. M (28 goals, 25 assists); Mark Fuehrer, sr. A (53 goals, 19 assists).
Outlook: Forest Hills Eastern avenged a 15-11 loss to Forest Hills Central from April 29 to advance to this weekend, and its only other losses were to Division 1 Rockford and Grand Ledge and 16-7 on March 23 to Country Day. Hoexum and senior Noah Benedict (24 goals, 21 assists) made the all-state first team last season, and Morgan earned an honorable mention. Senior Camden Klaes has been strong in goal giving up 7.9 goals per game and saving 54 percent of shots he’s faced. Boggiano played at Forest Hills Eastern as part of the school’s first cooperative seasons from 2004-07, and he also previously served as Country Day’s offensive coordinator from 2015-19.

Record/MPR: 18-2, No. 1
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Coach: Chris Garland, sixth season (79-22)
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2014), three runner-up finishes
Best wins: 15-7 (Semifinal) and 12-9 over No. 4 East Grand Rapids, 18-4 over No. 9 Pontiac Notre Dame Prep in Quarterfinal, 13-9 over No. 7 Byron Center, 14-6 over No. 2 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, 14-7 over No. 5 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, 16-7 over No. 3 Ada Forest Hills Eastern, 9-8 over Division 1 No. 7 Birmingham Seaholm, 13-8 over Division 1 No. 6 Grand Ledge.
Players to watch:
 Caden Daley, sr. A (50 goals, 16 assists); Will Thompson, sr. A (50 goals, 30 assists); Oliver Aaron, sr. A (22 goals, 18 assists); Kellen Curby, jr. G (5.47 goals-against average, .570 save %).
Outlook: Country Day has finished runner-up the last two seasons, and the majority of last year’s top contributors are back for another title attempt after the 2023 lineup included only one senior starter. Daley, senior defenders Shafeek Halabi and Trevor Corless, and senior long stick midfielder Andrew Gryzenia all made the all-state first team last season, while Aaron and Curby made the second team and Thompson made the third. Sophomore Keaton Yearego (50 goals, 15 assists) is another big-time scorer as well, and four more players not listed above have found the net at least 17 times this spring.

PHOTO Ada Forest Hills Eastern’s Will Morgan (2) maneuvers to get off a shot during his team’s Semifinal win over Forest Hills Central. (Photo by Michigan Sports Photo.)

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.