Preview: Repeat Rematches Reign

June 8, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

There’s little question which teams have been the best in Michigan boys lacrosse the last few seasons.

For the third straight, the MHSAA Finals will feature rematches of Detroit Catholic League rivals Detroit Catholic Central and Birmingham Brother Rice in Division 1 and Ottawa-Kent Conference opponents East Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central in Division 2.

The Division 2 game leads off this year’s series at 2 p.m. Saturday, followed by the Division 1 game at 4:30. Both Finals at Howell’s Parker Middle School 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: 13-7, No. 4 at end of regular-season
League finish: Second in Detroit Catholic High School League A
Coach: Ajay Chawla, fifth season (86-20) 
Championship history: 13 MHSAA championships (most recent 2017). 
Best wins: 10-4 over No. 7 Bloomfield Hills in Semifinal, 7-6 and 9-5 over Division 2 No. 6 Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, 14-5 over Division 2 No. 10 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.
Players to watch: Justin Glod, jr. A (22 goals, 5 assists); Jordan Hyde, soph. M (17 goals, 11 assists); Patrick O’Hara, soph. M/A (26 goals, 15 assists); Jack Michael, sr. G (7.9 goals-against average).
Outlook: By Brother Rice standards, this season is a little down – the Warriors have lost games to two in-state opponents when they rarely lose to any Michigan teams. And that said, they’re still headed to the championship game looking to remain the only Division 1 title winner in MHSAA boys lacrosse history. Rice has given up double-digit goals in only five games and a combined 20 goals over five playoff games. Juniors James Donaldson and Jack Crosby and senior Connor Marsh all earned all-state recognition on “special teams” last season. Junior Charlie Comer is another scoring threat, with 17 goals entering this week.

Record/rank: 18-2, No. 1 at end of regular season
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic High School League A
Coach: Dave Wilson, 13th season (182-79) 
Championship history: Division 1 runner-up seven times (most recent 2017).
Best wins: 10-9 and 11-8 over No. 4 Birmingham Brother Rice, 13-12 over No. 2 Hartland in Semifinal, 20-9 over No. 9 Rockford, 17-8 over No. 6 South Lyon Unified in Regional Final, 19-18 over Division 2 No. 1 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, 10-4 over Division 2 No. 2 East Grand Rapids.
Players to watch: Peter Thompson, sr. A; Joey Kamish, jr. A; Patrick Brandemihl, sr. M; Ethan Pattinson, sr. M. (Statistics not submitted.)
Outlook: DCC broke through against rival Brother Rice during the regular season and now will look to claim its first Division 1 championship in its fifth straight title game try against the Warriors. The Shamrocks have beaten most of the best in Michigan, with both losses to out-of-state opponents. Thompson was a repeat all-state first-teamer last season and Kamish made the second team. Like Brother Rice, only five opponents have scored double-digit goals on DCC this spring.

Division 2

17-4, No. 2 at end of regular season
League finish: Second in O-K Conference Tier 1
Coach: Rick DeBlasio, sixth season (91-30)
Championship history: Four MHSAA titles (most recent 2017), four runner-up finishes. 
Best wins: 16-3 over No. 9 Grosse Pointe North in Semifinal, 16-2 (Regional Final) and 14-11 over No. 7 Ada Forest Hills Eastern, 15-3 over No. 6 Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, 14-5 over Division 2 No. 10 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 17-6 over No. 3 Vicksburg, 16-8 over Division 1 No. 5 Brighton, 10-3 over Division 1 No. 9 Rockford, 12-2 over Division 1 No. 8 Lake Orion.
Players to watch: Nick Milanowski, sr G (5.10 goals-against average), Eric Solberg, sr. A (63 goals, 11 assists); Chris Owens, sr. A (66 goals, 27 assists), Jay Stecco, jr. A (23 goals, 62 assists).
Outlook: After falling to Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central in the 2016 Final, East Grand Rapids won last year’s championship rematch 11-9 to claim its first title since 2009. The Pioneers fell to FHC in their meeting earlier this season and will be playing from a bit of an underdog role again – but with a two-time all-state first team goalie in Milanowski and plenty of scoring prowess. Seniors Jack DelVecchio (31 goals) and Connor Davis (22 goals) also are among nine players who had tallied double-digit goals this season heading into this week. Senior Drew Thomas was a first-team all-state defender last season.

Record/rank: 18-1, No. 1 at end of regular season
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Tier 1
Coach: Andy Shira, first season (18-1) 
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2016), three runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 19-3 over No. 10 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in Semifinal, 25-12 over No. 3 Vicksburg in Regional Final, 15-11 over No. 6 Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, 20-8 over No. 7 Ada Forest Hills Eastern, 14-7 over No. 2 East Grand Rapids, 16-4 and 19-7 over Division 1 No. 9 Rockford, 12-5 over Division 1 No. 4 Birmingham Brother Rice.
Players to watch: Bryce Clay, sr. A (83 goals, 52 assists); Tate Hallock, jr. A (57 goals, 34 assists); Tobey Hendricks, sr. A (51 goals, 21 assists); Jack Nolan, jr. G (8.00 goals-against average).
Outlook: Shira was the team’s second new coach in two seasons but has Forest Hills Central back in the championship game for the third straight. Clay is one of the state’s top players, a multiple-time all-state first-teamer, and will look to end his career with another high note. Senior defender Andrew Trapp and senior midfielder Patrick English made the all-state first and second teams, respectively, last season, although English (16 goals, 14 assists) had played in only 13 games entering the week and isn’t listed in the starting lineup. Junior Luke Majick added another 45 goals and 25 assists entering this week, and junior Logan Wedder is a top face-off specialist.

PHOTO: Forest Hills Central’s Patrick English (32) launches a shot during last season’s Division 1 Final.

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.