June 12, 2013 - The Wolves were stopped last Wednesday on their journey to the state finals once again by their foe Brother Rice.
Austin Egler uses Holt for practice in preparation for the semifinals. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
This time the Warriors finished Clarkston's season in the MHSAA Semifinals with a 22-9 win.
"We were exposed a little bit," explained Brian Kaminskas, Clarkston Boys Varsity Lacrosse head coach. "I don't think they were used to playing such a big game in such an environment. I think it rattled them a little bit."
He added it wasn't the opponents the boys were facing but the stage they were on.
"It gets a lot more pressure, press, and people talking," he said, noting it will help the boys returning next season. "The more you are exposed to it, the less of a big deal it becomes. We are fortunate we have a young team that got to be involved this year. When we are back there next year it won't be as intimidating and challenging. They will be used to it."
The Warriors took a quick lead, heading into the second quarter with a six goal lead on Clarkston, 8-2.
The Wolves scored two more before the half finished from Kyle O'Grady and Connor Dziewit. Brother Rice continued to hold onto the lead ending the half, 12-4.
Connor Ward and O'Grady led the team with three goals each. Ward had one assist. Dziewit scored two goals and Reid Kaminski added one. Jake Hendricks had nine saves against Brother Rice and the Wolves made 16 shots on the net.
"Kyle played really well," Kaminskas added. "Scott Allen played well as defensemen. He ended up going to the clinic after the game and got seven stitches. He got injured early in the game but played through it. Reid was great on faceoffs."
The Wolves finished the season ranked third overall in Michigan, with an overall record 16-3. They also claimed the OAA Red and MHSAA Regional titles.
"It was a good season," Kaminskas added. "We graduated 16 seniors last year. It could have been a down year for us. We had quite a lot of good players in the pipeline and we still do. They performed well above what people expected."
Honors for the Wolves from their spring season include: Ward made it to the final four of the Warrior Sports High School Lacrosse Player of the Year. He was also named All-American, All-State and OAA Red.
Evan Kneisel also received All-Americal and All-State. Hendricks, Kaminski, O'Grady, and Jimmy McKillop were named All-State. Allen, Dziewit, Austin Bevis, Preston Haven, AJ Kowal, Keaton Mitchell, and AJ Schlaff were named All-Region as Austin Egler, Robert Hall, and Nick Werner received OAA honors.
Sean Johnson was named OAA and Academic All-American, the first from Clarkston lacrosse.
The Wolves lost nine seniors - Bevis, Haven, Kneisel, Kowal, Johnson, O'Grady, Schlaff, Jordan Moore and Nate Osborn.
"You always stand on the shoulders of those who come before you," Kaminskas said. "These guys are standing pretty tall. There are only two steps beyond this and the seniors got us here. It is a helluva legacy. These guys left a really good road path being team players and leaders."
The team brings back 22 players next year and they have the hunger for more.
"You have to stand back as a individual and an athlete and say I am not done yet. I have more to do," said Kaminskas.
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.