Congratulations, state champions


The boys jump with pride as coach Shira accepts the trophy.

History was made this past weekend. In 2022, our boys varsity lacrosse team won the state championship title after an undefeated season; now, in 2023, the team won it all once more. These gentlemen make winning look easy. The boys played in the state finals against Detroit Country Day this past weekend on Saturday, June 10, winning 11-6.  

As always, the boys needed to hone in and focus on their weaknesses. Their weaknesses would be the most prominent aspect of their playing; they needed to be in tip-top shape. 

“We knew all year what they beat us on early in the year,” said coach Andy Shira. “A lot of that was just mental focus and having unforced turnovers. We just kept the message the same we have to be sharp, and we have to play FHC Lacrosse, don’t focus too much on DCD.”

All the power was in the players’ hands when it came down to it. The future would unravel according to how they wanted it. From a player perspective, senior captain and attackman Jonah McConnell knew how to keep the team at ease. 

“We just tried to keep our heads level and not let the moment get too big,” he said. “We wanted to focus on the task at hand; we all relayed to each other how this would be the last time this group would ever get to play together as a unit, so we wanted to make it a good one.”

The crowd was booming as the clock hit zero and the starters lined up. Everyone was eager to see how this competition was going to play out. 

At the beginning of the first quarter, DCD managed to score three goals. The Rangers were not too worried about it, though—they just needed a bit of a refresh. 

“I was actually a little surprised when we were down,” Shira said. “We looked really good all week in practice and in our shoot around at FHC Saturday before going to EGR. We’ve been in that position before, so it was nothing new to the players. We called a timeout and told them to just relax and take a breath. It was so back and forth at both ends of the field the first five minutes or so that we just needed to settle down a bit.”

By the end of the first quarter, the score was 3-1. Junior captain and midfielder Nolan Hartl had secured one goal for the Rangers. Luckily, to start the second quarter, senior midfielder Magnus Salmon added another goal to the Rangers’ total. At that point, it was a one-point game; the adrenaline was rushing. DCD managed to get one in, dragging out the Yellowjackets’ lead. Luckily, Magnus scored three more times after that, and the Rangers took the lead. Heading into halftime, the score was 6-4 after Jonah acquired another goal with an assist from senior captain and LSM Sam Sneider. 

Entering the third quarter, Jonah scored on an assist from senior midfielder Reese Le. The score was 7-4 until DCD scored to make it 7-5. This did not intimidate our Rangers, though. Senior captain and attackman Graham Bennett expanded the lead by securing a goal; Nolan scored on a behind-the-back not long after on an assist from senior midfielder Collin Webb. Following this, DCD scored its last goal. Jonah scored to end the third quarter, making the score 10-6. In the fourth quarter, the final goal was made by Jonah on an assist from Sam. The game slowly dwindled down, and the team knew they had made it. 

So much was done well throughout the entire competition. From offense to defense, new play to old play, routine plays to improvised plays, the boys showed up. Shira was incredibly proud.

“Our leaders stepped up in the biggest moment,” he explained. “Some teams may fold down early like that, but these kids knew what was at stake and what needed to be done to accomplish our goal of repeating. Offensively, Magnus Salmon, Jonah McConnell, and Nolan Hartl really came to play. Graham Bennett added a goal, too, which was great momentum for us. Our defense and goalie clamped down as well, limiting DCD to just three goals the rest of the game after we were down three to nothing. DCD really did nothing that surprised us for this game.”

Looking back on the entire season, the boys have come an extremely long way. It has been a roller coaster of a season. From starting slow and not coming out to play to starting efficiently and leaving it all out on the field, the boys ended their season with the best game possible. 

“This was one of the best games they have played,” Shira said. “We preach all year that we need to play our best lacrosse in June, and the kids certainly saved their best for last. We’re so proud of them and happy for them that they achieved everything they wanted to this year. This group will go down in the history books.”

Shira is absolutely right; these boys and this team will most certainly go down in history. Not only did these boys demonstrate leadership and grit on the field, but they also displayed these characteristics off the field. This group of gentlemen is impressive. 

With this happy ending, I want to say congratulations and thank you to the team. Congratulations on pulling through and securing the title despite some rough moments this season. Congratulations on making history.

Thank you, coach Shira, for being so helpful this season. Your words and your input made this all possible; you have helped more than you know! Thank you, FHC lacrosse, for keeping me entertained and on the edge of my seat. To every player, coach, and person associated with the team, thank you for putting in the effort to give all the followers something unique to watch or read. 

Congratulations, state champions.