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No. 2 Culver Academy too much for Birmingham Brother Rice WITH PHOTO GALLERY

  • Brother Rice senior, Liam Reaume takes a shot during the North American Lacrosse Invitational Red Division championship game at Brother Rice High School on Sunday, May 18, 2014. (Special to The Oakland Press/MEAGAN DULLACK)
  • Culver Military Academy senior, Pierre Byrne (#10) pushes past two Brother Rice defenseman during the North American Lacrosse Invitational Red division championship game at Brother Rice High School. Culver pulled out a 16-3 victory over Brother Rice on Sunday, May 18, 2014. (Special to The Oakland Press/MEAGAN DULLACK)
  • With possession of the ball, Brother Rice senior, Joe Dudley (#9) works to push past a Culver defender during the Red division championship game of the North American Lacrosse Invitational at Brother Rice High School on Sunday, May 18, 2014. (Special to The Oakland Press/MEAGAN DULLACK)
  • Brother Rice senior, Patrick Cosgrove (#26) tries to steal possession of the ball from Culver on Sunday, May 18, 2014 during the Red Division championship game of the North American Lacrosse Invitational at Brother Rice High School. (Special to The Oakland Press/MEAGAN DULLACK)
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BIRMINGHAM – There is a reason Culver Academy is 23-0.

Despite a win over third-ranked Hill Academy on Saturday, Brother Rice was in for a much greater challenge on Sunday when it faced second-ranked Culver as part of the Championship Series of the North American Lacrosse Invitational.

The Eagles put on a display of nearly perfect lacrosse, dissecting the Warriors on their home turf en route to a 16-3 victory.

“They are probably the best high school team I have ever seen,” Brother Rice coach Ajay Chawla said of Culver. “They are, at least in my mind, the best team in the country. They don’t make a lot of mistakes and when you make mistakes, they take advantage of them.”

Culver Academy, which is based out of Indiana, made a big statement this weekend, beating Brother Rice and Bishop Timon (New York) by a combined score of 35-4.

The Warriors (14-4) looked like they were going to make a game of it early on, holding the Eagles without a goal for the first eight minutes of play while generating a few scoring chances of their own.

Culver finally found the net with 3:46 left in the first and then tacked on another goal in the final minute. Brother Rice would get on the board as time expired in the first with Joe Dudley finding Jason Alessi for a goal to make it 2-1 Culver after one.

“It was a big game for us. We went in thinking we could win it, we just didn’t execute in the last three quarters of the game,” Chawla said.

Things began to fall apart for Rice in the second. Culver scored the first three goals of the period while the Warriors made some uncharacteristic clearing mistakes. A pair of Warrior penalties led to two more Culver goals, as the Eagles took a 7-2 lead into halftime.

“I think we got impatient. It is always hard to keep your cool when you get down a couple of goals and the other team is making a run,” Chawla said. “We made some ill-advised passes and took some penalties. Those things happen. It wasn’t what we wanted to do, but I think we were trying to make some things happen.”

The third quarter was a dominant one for Culver, as it outscored Brother Rice 6-0. The Eagles controlled the ball most of the period thanks to the play of faceoff specialist Beau Ecksten.

“The best defense is offense a lot of times and they controlled the ball for 80 percent of the game,” Chawla said. “It is hard to get goals when you are only getting one or two possessions a quarter.”

When Rice did have the ball, it struggled to find good shots on the Culver defense.

“Their defense was solid. They have a bunch of really good kids. They play sound defense and there aren’t a lot of openings in their defense,” Chawla said.

Ethan Walker had five goals to lead Culver while Joe Tinney had four.

Along with Alessi, John Lockwood and Reid Fisher had goals for the Warriors.

Brother Rice now turns its attention to winning its 10th MHSAA state championship in 10 years. The Warriors begin regional play on Wednesday when they host Lake Orion.

“This weekend is going to help our team,” Chawla said. “We got a great amount of confidence on Saturday against Hill Academy. That was a great victory for us. We need to remember what we did right in that game and we need to fix our mistakes that we made (Sunday). We have the state tournament coming up and we need to carry the same intensity for the tournament that we had on Saturday.”

Last Updated: 5/18/2014 4:12:49 PM EST


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