On Sunday during a cold, rain soaked spring afternoon at the University of Michigan's U-M Lacrosse Stadium, the previously #4 ranked CMA Prep Lacrosse team took on the then ranked #3 Hill Academy Pride. The match-up was much anticipated for the Eagles, as the last meeting between the two was during the Geico High School National Tournament, in which the Pride defeated Culver 11-6 in the semi-final round to end the Eagle's season.
CMA dominated from the first whistle, with senior face-off specialist and Denver signee Alec Stathakis (Northville, MI) winning five of six draws, and the Culver offense finding rhythm and twine early. Junior attackmen and Denver commit Owen Hiltz (Peterborough, ON) and senior midfielder and Delaware signee Michael Robinson (Peterborough, ON) each scored two goals. With limited first quarter Hill possessions and stellar goaltending from junior Princeton commit Michael Gianforcaro (Lincoln University, PA), Culver held the Pride scoreless to end the first up 5-0.
Hill was able to break the five goal run by opening second quarter scoring off of an early offense opportunity. Nevertheless, the Eagles continued their dominating performance through to half-time. Stathakis was perfect on the quarter, winning seven of seven draws, and Gianforcaro recorded six saves and allowed only two goals. Another three goals came from Robinson, who was joined in scoring by Jackson Gray '21 (San Rafael, CA), which made the score 9-2 at the half-time intermission.
The Pride would gain some momentum in the third quarter, opening second half scoring with a settled offensive opportunity, followed by another with 8:08 remaining bringing themselves to within five, 9-4. Stathakis would control the next draw, but turn the ball over in front of his own net as he was forced to go backwards off the faceoff dot. The turnover resulted in a settled offense opportunity for the Hill, but they still weren't able to contend the goaltending of Gianforcaro, who made a low, off-stick-side save on his knees, and then quickly outletted the ball to two-way senior midfielder and Princeton signee Sam English (Burlington, ON). English used his athleticism to evade pressure in the open field, and then dodge the alley to his right hand for the goal, 10-4 Culver.
The Hill managed to net two more in the third, but another unassisted goal from English and another coming from Gray, fed by Hiltz, would allow the Eagles to hold a six-goal lead going into the fourth.
The Eagles were able to maintain, scoring four fourth quarter goals to Hill's two, making the final 16-8. Yale commit and junior attackmen David Anderson (Cambridge, ON), produced a fourth quarter hat trick, two of which were assisted by English.
"We always look forward to playing this game," said head coach Jon Posner. "Our guys bought into the game plan, and we were able to execute the way we needed to in all facets of our game, which is the first time we've been able to do that this year."
They will take a trip the the Columbus, OH area to take on Dublin Coffman and Upper Arlington on April 19 and 20, and will be back in action at home on April 24th when they take on St. Joseph's Collegiate (NY). The April 24th game will be streamed via THIS LINK.
Culver scoring: Hiltz 2G 3A, S. English 3G 2A, Robinson 5G 1A, Gray 2G 1A, Anderson 3G, Chauvette 1G 1A, Cohen 1A
Goaltending: Gianforcaro 13 saves
Faceoffs: Stathkis 23 of 28 (82%)