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Country Day ends Brother Rice's in-state streak with 8-7 OT victory WITH PHOTO GALLERY

BIRMINGHAM – There is only one streak that matters in boy’s lacrosse in the state of Michigan.

Since 2002, Birmingham Brother Rice hadn’t lost to an in-state opponent in the sport.

Every year, teams lined up to dethrone the Warriors, but none were successful. There were plenty of close calls along the way, but Rice always found a way to keep the streak alive.

Only one team would ultimately be the team to beat the streak, and that team emerged on Wednesday night.

In a classic game worthy of the historic ramifications behind it, Birmingham Detroit Country Day put an end to Rice’s streak with an 8-7 overtime victory.

“Certainly a team like Brother Rice that has been successful as it has been forever and been the class of the state for the last 10 years, it is a big win,” Country Day coach Michael Cappelletti said.

The Yellowjackets (8-1) believed in their chances from the start, taking a 3-0 lead on the Warriors (6-2). Country Day had a chance to win the game in regulation, but saw a few shots go wide, sending the game into overtime.

In the extra frame, it didn’t take long for the Yellowjackets to make history, as they won the opening faceoff scrum and Devon Callaghan found senior Jack Bergmann, who netted the game-winning goal, which sparked a mass celebration from Yellowjacket fans and players.

“There was a scrum for about a minute and (Callaghan) came down, the (defense) slid up and he fed me and I just put it in. Luckily it hit the goalie and went in. It felt amazing,” Bergmann said of the winning goal. “(Brother Rice) is a great team and an unbelievable program. It just felt great to get that win for the team.”

Cappelletti forecasted the winning goal in the huddle before overtime.

“Our faceoff guy said he had it and was going to go forward with the ball. I told the guys if we were going forward I wanted two passes and told Jack the game was on him and he had to do what he does, and he did.”

The loss stunned the Warriors, but head coach Ajay Chawla felt like his team was outplayed.

“It happens. Sometimes you can get away with it,” Chawla said of being flat. “(Wednesday) we couldn’t get away with it. We clawed back late, but (Country Day) played a heck of a game. They were the better team (Wednesday).”

The Warriors were held without a goal in the opening period as the Yellowjackets had scores from Matt Stebbins, David Pohl and Cooper Belanger to take a 3-0 lead.

Jason Alessi would score the first goal for Rice and John Lockwood added another with four minutes left in the first half to make it 3-2.

Bergmann scored score his first goal 20 seconds later to push the Yellowjackets to a 4-2 lead at the break.

“It has been our seniors from Day 1. It’s been those guys that have had three different coaches, three different systems and three different personalities that have hung in and been unbelievable leaders for us,” Cappelletti said. “We just told them that if we stick together and play for everybody else, we know we are going to be on top.”

In the third period, Rice scored three goals to Country Day’s one to make it 5-5 entering the fourth. Morgan Macko, Liam Reaume and Reid Fisher each scored. Joe Bergin had the lone Country Day score.

Rice would take its only lead of the game with nine minutes to play as Lockwood scored for the second time. It seemed the Warriors finally had things figured out at that point, but Country Day came right back, scoring the next two goals behind Emilio Sosa and Belanger.

“There were certainly times where I was waiting for (Brother Rice) to make one of their runs, but our guys just hung in and didn’t play outside of themselves,” Cappelletti said.

Alessi scored with 4:11 to play to tie the game at 7-7, but the Yellowjackets controlled the final minutes of regulation and carried that into the overtime victory.

“We learned a lot (in the loss). I don’t think it was a lack of effort, (Country Day) was the better team (Wednesday),” Chawla said. “I don’t know if they are the better team the next time, but they were (Wednesday). They deserve a lot of credit.”

Since the MHSAA recognized boy’s lacrosse as a sport, Brother Rice was 133-0 against in-state opponents coming into Wednesday’s game. The streak actually began prior to the MHSAA records being kept.

The Warriors have carried the pressure of extending the win streak for many years, and the departure of longtime coach Rob Ambrose in the offseason only amplified that for this year’s team. Brother Rice will now look to focus on its MHSAA state titles streak, which is currently at 9-for-9.

“There is always a pressure and these kids feel it. It is part of being part of this team and being part of Brother Rice. They have to learn to deal with it,” Chawla said. “We have to figure out what we have and move forward. We can’t dwell on the loss. Maybe it is good the monkey is off their back. Maybe we can move forward and not worry about all the records and all the things people like to talk about.”

Last Updated: 4/16/2014 6:48:14 PM EST


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