Back on top: Brother Rice, Greenhills claim Catholic League boys lacrosse titles
May 15, 2019
NOVI — “Comeback win” isn’t a phrase usually associated with the Birmingham Brother Rice lacrosse team. But that’s exactly what was required in order for the Warriors to reclaim the Catholic League’s A-Division championship from Novi Detroit Catholic Central on May 11.
Playing on the Shamrocks’ home field and facing a four-point deficit early in the second half, the Warriors took control and rattled off eight straight goals to register a 16-12 victory.
“It wasn’t the prettiest win, but we’ll take it, and we’re going to build on it,” junior attack Pat O’Hara said. “It’s about how we play now, not the outcome anymore.”
Brother Rice thrashed Catholic Central 16-5 earlier in the spring as sort of a payback for the Shamrocks ending the Warriors’ 13-year state championship streak last season, and when Brother Rice junior midfielder Jordan Hyde scored before the game was two minutes old, it appeared like the Warriors might pick up where they left off last month.
But Catholic Central went on a five-goal tear over the next four minutes, getting scores from Ryan Sullivan (twice), Joey Kamish, Jacob Sposita and Patrick Lee.
Hyde had three more goals in the first quarter to bring the Warriors to within 6-4, yet the Shamrocks kept the upper hand and led 10-7 at halftime.
“They didn’t do anything too special; they just took us out of our game defensively,” O’Hara said. “There was no surprise there, it was on our back, it was nothing that they put up against us. This (senior) class probably had the worst half of defense they’ve had in the whole four years they’ve been here. Our goalie had the worst half that he’s had.”
Sullivan netted his fourth goal of the game 32 seconds after the break to make it 11-7, but after that, the game turned in a big way.
Brother Rice scored the next five goals — two from Justin Glod, two from Mike Cosgrove and another by O’Hara, to take a 12-11 lead by the midpoint of the third quarter.
After that, Catholic Central had numerous offensive opportunities to close out the third, but the Warrior defense tightened up and the Shamrocks couldn’t put anything past goalkeeper Dom Dadabbo. The fourth quarter was even more one-sided, as the Warriors kept the ball in the Shamrocks’ end of the field, not even allowing Catholic Central to get a shot on net until one minute remained in the contest.
Meanwhile, O’Hara scored his fourth, fifth and sixth goals of the day to put the score out of reach.
“When you run a race, you’re fastest at the end,” O’Hara said. “At halftime we had some ugly words said and it was picked up. The message was clear that they get nothing. There’s some unbelievable leadership on this team and they care about this team, not just now, but next year and 10 years to come, too.”
Besides’ O’Hara’s six goals, Brother Rice got four from Glod and four from Hyde. Sullivan was the Shamrocks’ high scorer, with five.
Asked how it felt to win back the Catholic League title after a year in the hands of their biggest rivals, O’Hara replied with what has become a mantra for the Warriors this spring: “We never left the top.”
GREENHILLS TAKES B-DIVISION CROWN, 6-4
When the All-Catholic Honor Team was announced during Saturday’s Catholic League boys’ lacrosse championships, Ann Arbor Greenhills’ Trey Feldheisen was inadvertently skipped over when the individual all-stars were introduced.
While that issue was corrected soon enough, the most important thing was that there was no overlooking the Gryphons’ midfielder out on the field of play. Feldheisen had two goals to pace Greenhills to a 6-4 victory over Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard in the B-Division title game.
The senior two-time captain opened the game’s scoring two-and-a-half minutes in, and scored the go-ahead goal with 1:27 to play in the third, as Greenhills erased a 3-1 deficit.
“We were fully prepared, but it can take some time,” he said. “We scored eight straight against Shrine (in the semi-final victory) and we scored five in a row today. It’s a matter of getting our offense in sync.”
Two more goals from senior midfielder Samuel Gargaro early in the fourth quarter gave Greenhills an insurmountable three-goal lead. Senior midfielder Max Miller scored once and added two assists.
It’s the third Catholic League championship won this school year by Greenhills, which left the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference to join the Catholic League as an affiliate member in 2017. The Gryphons also captured titles in girls’ golf and boys’ cross country in the fall.
“It’s the first time we’re conference champs in the Catholic League, so that’s something to put on the banner,” he said. “And it’s the first time that our senior class has beaten them.”
It’s become quite a rivalry in a relatively short amount of time. Fr. Gabriel Richard — located just two miles from Greenhills — had taken 7-6 overtime victories both this spring and in 2018.