BOYS LACROSSE: Country Day shocks Brother Rice, brings epic streak tumbling down
BEVERLY HILLS – For a dozen years, lacrosse teams across the state of Michigan have been playing their own version of ‘Beat the Streak.’
The aforementioned streak being Birmingham Brother Rice’s in-state win-streak, which had been intact since 2002. That was until Wednesday night, as Birmingham Detroit Country Day took their turn at attempting to break the amazing streak of Warriors’ victories and did just that.
Country Day’s Devon Callaghan picked up a groundball about a minute after the face-off to being the overtime session and found senior Jack Bergmann, who scored with 3:43 left to play to give the Yellowjackets a thrilling 8-7 win, snapping Brother Rice’s 12-year string of in-state triumphs.
“It feels amazing,” said Bermann of the heady accomplishment. “Especially against Brother Rice, they’ve been undefeated in the state for about 11 years. They have an unbelievable program and a great team and it just felt great to get the win for the team.”
First year Country Day head coach Michael Cappalletti said that once he saw Callaghan pick the ball up after a scrum at midfield he knew his team was going to come out with the win.
“Honestly, as soon as Devon picked it up and I knew we were going to score,” he said. “I just knew it. I’m being totally honest with you, just the way he picked it up and he looked left, he looked right, he can see the field and they (Brother Rice) went from Bergman and he hit him and Jack does what he does best, he put the ball in the back of the net.”
After Bergman and the Yellowjackets jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, Brother Rice began to battle back and eventually took its first lead of the evening with 9:05 left to play on a goal from John Lockwood, to give the Warriors a 6-5 edge. But Country Day responded with two goals in a span of 1:23 on goals from junior Emilio Sosa and Cooper Belanger to give the Yellowjackets a 7-6 lead with 5:20 left to in the fourth quarter.
Brother Rice managed to force overtime though as senior Jason Alessi sent a laser into the back of the net to tie the game at 7-7 with 4:11 to go in regulation.
Even though the loss marked the end of arguably the most dominant winning streak in MHSAA history, Brother Rice head coach Ajay Chawla said that the message to his team after the game had nothing to do with the steak coming to a conclusion.
“You never want it to come to an end,” he said. “But we didn’t even talk about the streak and we don’t, pretty much at any time. The message after the game today was that we have to come out ready to play from the first whistle. We can’t take the first half off and expect to win, the games aren’t just going to come to us. We’ve got to play hard every minute of every game and I think today was an example of what happens when you don’t play hard in the first half.”
In the first half, Country Day jumped out to a 3-0 lead as Matt Stebbins, David Pohl and Bellanger each tallied a goal to put their team in front early.
For Country Day, one of the goals the Yellowjackets had for themselves entering the 2014 season was to start up an in-state winning streak of its own.
“We talk all of the time about what they’ve done for 10 years,” Cappalletti said. “We don’t want to lose to a team from Michigan and that’s one of the goals that we set out to achieve. They’re just another team from Michigan, and they happen to be a lot better than everybody else, and they’re in Division 1 and they’re probably going to do what they’ve always do which is win. But we’re just proud of our guys for showing up to that challenge and never saying, ‘Okay, no more, I quit,’ at any point, they had runs of their own, we got behind, we got up. We just stayed so even keel and we hadn’t seen that out of this group and it just makes you really proud as a coach when they can do that mentally."