BIRMINGHAM – Playing the Brother Rice lacrosse team can be intimidating. Even in the state finals.
The Warriors steamrolled Forest Hills Eastern-Northern in the Division 1 title game 15-4 on Saturday at to win its ninth straight championship, its seventh in Division I.
Forest Hills was playing in the finals for the first time, and it looked a little like a deer in headlights facing a Brother Rice (19-4) team that hasn’t lost a state title in the state of Michigan in nine years.
“We played a little faster game then them,” Warriors coach Rob Ambrose said. “It’s hard being here for the first time. When you’re in the state championship that’s really where the rubber meets the road.”
The game was all Brother Rice for nearly three quarters. It didn’t allow a single goal in the first half and had a 10-0 lead by halftime.
“That (early lead) was a huge confidence booster,” Brother Rice defenseman Chris Walker said. “We had a lot of new guys that weren’t on the team last year. Having something that eases a lot of the nerves that people have coming into this game.”
Forest Hill’s first goal of the game came with 3:29 left in the third quarter. It was a typical performance for the Brother Rice defense. In the state tournament the group allowed only 18 goals in four games.
The offense wasn’t too bad either. Will Meter, MacKenzie MacEachern and K.C. Kennedy each had two goals apiece. Meter added a team-high four assists and Kennedy had three. Forest Hills struggled with the Warriors precision passing and fast pass the entire game.
“I don’t think we really expected to come out and get 10 goals in the first half,” Meter said. “But once we got those two early goals, that was a good sign that more goals were coming.”
That passing has been on display all year for Brother Rice and has been one of the keys to their success.
“We don’t have any selfish play,” Walker said. “That’s probably the biggest thing we’ve been looking for this year. Guys making that extra pass, not taking that unnecessary shot and getting closer to the goal.”
Teams in Division 1 hoping the Warriors might not be as good next year better keep their fingers crossed. It sure doesn’t look like Brother Rice is slowing down.
The Warriors are graduating eight seniors, including Meter and starting goalie Christian Eckert. But almost the entire defense is coming back next year.
“They’re all juniors,” Meter said. “They are all going to come back and we’re going to have a really good defensive team next year. We should be pretty good.”
Walker is one of those defenders coming back. He knows there will be a target on Brother Rice’s back again next year. It certainly doesn’t seem to bother him or his teammates one bit.
“It puts a lot of pressure on us, but we welcome that pressure,” Walker said. “We just want to keep up that tradition that the guys before us made.”
Correction: The headline on this story was updated to reflect this is Brother Rice's ninth-straight title, not Division 1 title.