By John Raffel
Birmingham Brother Rice ended the 2008 boys lacrosse season in Michigan at a perfect 22-0 on Saturday with a 16-8 victory over Detroit-Jesuit in the Division 1 state title game at Troy Athens High School.
In the four years the Michigan High School Athletic Association has sanctioned lacrosse, Brother Rice has won all four Division 1 boys state titles.
Brother Rice, 22-0, scored three goals in the first period, five in the second, two in the third and six in the fourth. Detroit-Jesuit, 13-9, scored three goals in the first, two in the second and three in the third.
“We have a strong group of seniors,” Brother Rice Coach Rob Ambrose said. “Our success has been a combination of things. We have a strong offense. We average 18 goals and give up five goals a game. The key thing has been our experienced players who have been with us before. There's no substitute for experience.”
Devin Peurach scored six goals for Brother Rice in the title game while Michael Hamilton and Nick Dolick had three apiece. Dolick has been the team's leading scorer during the season. Graham Adams and Mark Chaput had two goals apiece.
Goalkeeper T.J. Yost had 10 saves for Brother Rice.
“Last year we were 22-1 and the year before that we were 23-0,” Ambrose said. “We don't take anything for granted.”
Going into the playoffs, Ambrose was cautiously optimistic.
“It's the state tournament. Anything can happen,” he said.
What happened was another Brother Rice state title.
Division 2 Boys
East Grand Rapids won its second-straight Division 2 title with a 14-7 win over Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central Saturday at Troy Athens. East scored four goals in the first period, two in the third and eight in the fourth. FHC had one goal in the first period, three in the second, one in the third and two in the fourth. Jim Ferris and Corbin Rolston had three goals for East GR.
“We knew coming into this season we didn't have the caliber of individual talent we may have had in the past, so we knew we had to work harder than in previous years to accomplish our goals,” said East GR coach Adam Vincent. “Our guys were really going to have to rely on each other and play within a team concept since we didn't have the one or two "go-to" players.
“Another key has been commitment, making the right decisions off the field to support the team, whether that means working on skills outside of practice, saying no to alcohol and drugs, or getting enough sleep and proper nutrition to perform.”
East GR was runner-up in 2005 and 2006.
“We set goals that included being the best possible lacrosse team we could be and winning a state championship. We worked all season long to accomplish those goals, so I don't think not winning it ever entered our minds,” Vincent said.
Ian McDonald was East GR's goalie and had a 65 percent save ratio.
“He played outstanding in the playoffs for us,” said Vincent, adding that Elliot Avis, a midfielder, “dominated face offs all season long and gave us a lot of chances to score in the championship game.”
Joe Glendening, another midfielder, “was the hardest working player on our team, among our top goal scorers, who plays offense and defense and perhaps was the best athlete we have had come through our program,” Vincent said. “Every year we graduate some outstanding lacrosse players and wonderful young men, but I like to think our continued success is a product of an outstanding system that continues to develop athletes and lacrosse players. We are looking forward to working with the next team who will be climbing their mountain together.”
Division 1 Girls
Birmingham Unified claimed the Division 1 girls title with an 8-6 victory Saturday at Bloomfield Hills over South Lyon for its second-straight state championship.
BU scored four goals in each half. South Lyon scored three goals in each half.
“We were continually growing. We started out the season with a very tough schedule and every step of the way we had to overcome small obstacles but it only helped us grow and feed our desire to be the best team we were capable of,” said BU Coach Jennifer Dunbar. “Our seniors were very motivated to end their careers with a championship so they helped keep everyone focused on the end goal.
“We knew we had a lot of talent returning but it took us several games to really put it all into place. We had set large goals for ourselves and through a lot of hard work we were able to accomplish our state championship goal.”
Goalie Emmy Scheidt had eight saves for the winners while Sharon Kennedy had five saves for South Lyon, which had entered the game with a 22-0-2 record. Birmingham Unified ends the state title with a 17-5-2 record.
Lauren Acker led BU with two goals.
“Our six senior captains, Emmy Scheidt, Maddie Palmer, Quinn Golinske, Kayla Bolton, Allison Brown, and Katie Stephens were tremendous leaders on and off the field. They were the core of both our offense and defense and made us the team we became,” Dunbar said.
“We are losing eight very strong seniors, but it was awesome to see how much our underclassmen stepped up during the state tournament,” Dunbar added. “We will once again return some very strong players, will continue to schedule games with top teams in the Midwest, and hope to once again be a top team in Michigan.”
Division 2 Girls
Flint Powers Catholic Central won its first state title with a 12-11 win over Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart in overtime on Saturday. It was 5-5 at halftime and 10-10 after regulation.
Jaimie Brady scored both of Flint Powers' goals in overtime. She also scored a goal in the first half. Allyson Fritts and Devyn Ferris had two goals apiece for the Flint team, which ended its season at 14-5-2.
Sacred Heart ended its season at 15-6-1.