Championship Preview: Ohio & Michigan Boys Lacrosse

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Less than two weeks remain in the Midwest high school lacrosse season. Fans in the Buckeye state will flock to Columbus to see the D1 and D2 boys and girls champions crowned. Hats off to the OHSAA, they do the championship weekend the right way. Historic Crew Stadium hosts each of the four games.

The action gets started at 10 a.m. with the girl’s D2 game with games starting every three hours and culminating with the Boy’s D1 game at 7 p.m. For ticket information and game times visit the OHSAA website.

Michigan still has one week of games left. This weekend 16 teams will compete in quarterfinal matchups to earn the right to play in the semifinals next week. To get you ready for this weekend, we have an overview of all of the matchups in Ohio and Michigan. Good luck to all of the teams participating this weekend.

Ohio Division 1 State Championship Preview

Columbus and Cincinnati will battle for the D1 State Championship on Saturday night. Dublin Jerome shook off a slow start to knock off Cleveland St. Ignatius Wednesday night. Jerome is the #1 ranked team in Ohio and is 21-1 on the season. This will be the third straight year that the Celtics are playing in the state championship game. They finished as a finalist in 2022 after winning the state championship in 2021.

Jerome will face the Bombers from Cincinnati St. Xavier. Brady Bennett scored with 46 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter to force overtime against defending state champion Upper Arlington. St. Xavier showed patience in the extra frame working the ball around before finding Sophomore DJ Wojciechowski who dodged through a host of Golden Bears to score and send the Bombers back to the State Championship.

This will be the Bomber’s first state championship appearance since finishing as a finalist to Dublin Coffman in 2019. We spoke to an Ohio high school lacrosse coach to provide a scouting report on the two teams.

Dublin Jerome: “Fueled by Senior All-American Attackman Marek Tzagournis (Denver) and a deep supporting cast, Jerome is poised for another run at a state title.  With a fast-paced, NASCAR-style offense, Jerome thrives between the lines, in transition, and in unsettled situations.  Jerome is not concerned with limiting the number of goals against, they want to outscore their opponents.  Look for Jerome to go to the cage early and often.”

Cincinnati St. Xavier: “This St. Xavier team is young, talented, and hungry to bring hardware south.  Led by star Attackman Khalif Hocker, St Xavier has depth and multiple goal scorers at every position.  Pair this with All-American Defensemen Max Bonner (Michigan), St. Xavier has the talent to beat anyone they play.”

Ohio Division 2 State Championship Preview

Cleveland and Columbus will battle for D2 supremacy at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Olmstead Falls knocked off previously undefeated Huntington Valley University School to earn its first trip to the State Championship. Olmstead Falls is ranked #2 in D2 and #14 overall in Ohio. They are 18-1 on the season with their only loss coming in the first game of the year to Western Reserve’s B team.

St. Frances DeSales knocked off Cincinnati Mariemont to return to defend their title. This was the second straight year that DeSales has defeated Mariemont in the semifinals. DeSales is ranked #1 in D2 and #9 overall in Ohio. They are 19-1 on the season, losing its only game to Hilliard Davidson 10-4.

Michigan Division 1 Quarterfinal Preview

Seven of the eight-seeded D1 teams in Michigan won their Regional finals this week. Brother Rice, Hartland, Clarkston, Lake Orion, and Detroit Catholic Central all cruised to relatively easy victories winning by an average margin of 15 goals. Brighton and Muskegon Mona Shores faced stiff competition.

Brighton held off South Lyon 8-6 and Muskegon Mona Shores pulled out a 13-12 victory over Holland West Ottowa. #3 Rockford was the only seeded team not to make it out of its region. The Rams fell to Grand Ledge 12-11. This is the second year Grand Ledge has not been seeded and won a region, they defeated Brighton last year.

Two games of note to watch in the D1 Quarterfinals. The first will be a matchup of two of the top faceoff men in the state when Detroit Catholic Central travels to Grand Ledge on Friday night. Jack Cyrek (UMBC) has led DCC to a 17-2 record splitting his time at the Faceoff X and at attack. Grand Ledge will counter with Landon Parker (Monmouth) at the X. Grand Ledge is 19-2 on the season with close losses to Forest Hills Central and Detroit Country Day, two of the top teams in D2.

On Saturday afternoon Clarkston and Lake Orion will battle for the right to play likely top-seeded Brother Rice in the semifinal on Wednesday. The two teams are conference rivals and are separated by 10 miles. Clarkston has an 18-2 overall record and captured their second straight regional championship on Tuesday in their 15-1 defeat of Grand Blanc. Clarkston is led by eight seniors on their team.

Blake Berry is winning faceoffs at an 80% clip, Attackman Zaidan Green has 80 goals on the season, and defenseman Gavin Pate not only plays lock-down defense but has 17 goals in transition this season for the Wolves. Lake Orion counters with a two-headed offensive monster in Samuel Hayes and Andrew Parker, two of the strongest offensive threats in the OAA. Lake Orion is 17-3 on the year. Clarkston won the regular season matchup 14-10.

Michigan Division 2 Quarterfinal Preview

Six of the eight D2 teams won their region earlier this week. We saw two big upsets as #3 East Grand Rapids fell to Lowell 11-10 on Wednesday night. The Red Arrows battled back from a 9-4 third-quarter deficit to pull off the upset. The other upset saw #6 Okemos fall to Dearborn Divine Child 12-10.

This will be the Falcon’s first quarterfinal appearance in program history. It was a great moment to help grow the game in Michigan. The Falcons program has been around for less than 15 years and their win will help generate interest in the sport in an areas that is relatively new to the sport.

All eyes will be on Detroit Country Day and Forest Hills Central. The two met last year in the state championship with the Rangers coming out on top. They will need to focus on their quarterfinal and semifinal matchups if they are going to clash again on June 10th in East Grand Rapids.

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Craig McMichael

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