BIRMINGHAM – The streak continues.
won its 10th straight state title on Saturday afternoon with a 14-8 win over Ann Arbor Pioneer in the Division 1 finals at .
“This is a great feeling,” Warriors senior attacker Riley Kennedy said. “Ten years in a row for Brother Rice, that’s huge. My last game with these guys, just great to win it out here.”
Every single one of the titles has been special for Brother Rice and coach Rob Ambrose, but going an entire decade without a playoff loss gave this one a little added significance.
“Winning a state championship is great period, we are very humbled by it, but a 10-year run is pretty strong without a loss,” Ambrose said. “I’m really proud of these guys.”
And as the Warriors have continually shown, success breeds success. Ambrose expects his outgoing seniors to join the growing list of alumni who come back to Brother Rice and help it make it 11 titles in a row.
“There’s such continuity and kids really care about each other, there’s really a brotherhood at the school. I’ve had one job coaching and that’s at Brother Rice for 20 years now," Ambrose said. "The culture is set, lot of alumni coming back that talk to our guys. It’s a real special program.”
The game itself provided a few early tense moments as the teams finished the opening quarter tied 1-1. Ann Arbor even grabbed an early 2-1 lead with a goal from Eric Loveless at the start of the second quarter.
That didn’t sit well with the Warriors; Riley Kennedy in particular, who responded with a flurry of offense. The senior assisted on Henry Nelson’s goal that tied the game 2-2 with 10:49 left in the half.
After Nelson scored an unassisted goal 45 seconds later, Kennedy took over. He needed less than four minutes to score Brother Rice’s next four goals. He picked up another assist on Nelson’s third goal of the half.
“He’s a very talented offensive player, I think everybody can see that,” Ambrose said. “He’s going to University of Michigan next year and he should be an impact player for them, he played great today.”
The Warriors kept up the attack and closed out the quarter with 10 goals and a comfortable 11-4 lead.
“We were (feeling it),” Kennedy said, smiling. “We were on fire.”
It was a quick turnaround after scoring just once in the opening quarter.
“We just weren’t playing our game (in the first),” Ambrose said. “We played a little selfish, weren’t moving the ball, we just said hey guys we have to regroup, get into our zone and play our game.”
The Pioneers attempted to crawl its way back into the game in the second half, but Brother Rice’s stout defense and goalie Kiernan Quarton wouldn’t let that happen.
Even though the Warriors didn’t have possession of the ball for most of the third quarter, and went without a goal for nearly 10 minutes, Ann Arbor couldn’t capitalize.
Brother Rice’s backline contested everything and half of the shots that were able to make it through to the net didn’t get past Quarton.