BOYS LACROSSE: Clarkston holds off Troy to claim fourth straight OAA Red Division title | North Oakland Sports

BOYS LACROSSE: Clarkston holds off Troy to claim fourth straight OAA Red Division title

| May 17, 2014 | Comments (0)




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TROYBrian Kaminskas sat down with some of his fellow coaches in Clarkston’s boys lacrosse program four years ago and talked about the future. At the time, the horizon looked quite promising with several young players in the high school and middle school levels.

Fast forward to 2014 and the Wolves have definitely made their mark in recent times.

Clarkston, ranked third in the state in Division 1, put the finishing touches on their fourth straight OAA Red Division crown Saturday morning with a 19-12 victory over Troy in what proved to be the provisional league title match. Both teams came in undefeated at 6-0-0 in league play.

Clarkston (15-2-0, 7-0-0) has now won 31 straight in the league, dating back to 2011, the first year the Wolves ever won the OAA-Red. Troy Athens won the crown in 2010 and shared the title with Clarkston in 2011. Athens was the last team to beat Clarkston inside league play during the 2011 season, defeating the Wolves 13-7 in the league opener that year.

Tripping Up: Clarkston's Allen Scott (No.24) and Troy's Jay Darish (No. 4) collide during Saturday's OAA Red Division clash. Staff Photo | Dan Stickradt

Tripping Up: Clarkston’s Allen Scott (No.24) and Troy’s Jay Darish (No. 4) collide during Saturday’s OAA Red Division clash. Staff Photo | Dan Stickradt

Clarkston has gone 31-1 in league play during the last four seasons and is perfect in the league for three straight seasons. This season the Wolves outscored their seven OAA-Red foes by an eye-popping 123-37 margin.

“Five or six years ago we sat down the program and said one of our goals was to be one of the most dominant teams in the Midwest. We recognize that doing that in the OAA is the first step,” said Kaminskas. “That is a big focus for these guys that when we play an OAA team, we make sure we are the dominant force on the field.

“It was really when the current seniors where in eighth grade that we saw a lot of talent coming up,” continued Kaminskas. “We could start to see the change and it’s been evident on the field. We’ve lost one league game in four years. That’s quite an accomplishment.”

Troy, on the other end, is a program on the rise with its highest league finish to date. The Colts suffered through seven straight losing seasons from 2005 through 2011, but have gone 37-16 the past three seasons, including 13-4 this season.

Troy gave itself a shot at a league title.

“It has been a change in culture,” said Troy third-year coach Nate Reynolds. “The guys are buying in. They are working year-round and they are invested and want to play well. They focus on their individual growth, which is going to help grow the program. I couldn’t be more proud of the program and the team and where we are at compared to where we have been. We were down a few years ago and have done a nice job turning it around.”

The Colts (13-4-0, 6-1-0) opened the game on fire, taking 1-0 and 2-1 leads on the Wolves, who reached the Division 1 Final Four last season. The two teams were locked in a 4-4 tie midway through the second period before Clarkston closed out the period on a 5-0 run, all coming in the final 7:44 of the frame.

Clarkston would not trail again.

Troy did close to within 11-8 with 7:44 left in the third quarter on a goal by David Fracassa. Clarkston had the answer, scoring six straight goals to build a 17-8 advantage with 11:02 left in the game.

The Wolves scored three goals in an 49 seconds to open the fourth and essentially put the upstart Colts away for good.

Connor Dziewit had five goals and three assists and Connor Ward had a fine game with four goals and five assists to pace the Wolves, who have scored 15 or more goals six times this season, including their last four where they have outscored the opposition by a commanding 83-19 margin.

“I thought it was a good win. We talked all year about being dominant in the OAA and Troy is by far the best team we have played,” said Kaminskas. “We went back and forth there early on and as soon as we started to play our game, things started to go our way. I thought we came out and played a little flat in the beginning.”

Reid Kaminski added three goals, Jim McKillop scored twice and John McLennan, Gaven Bertram, Andrew Williamson and Robert Hall added single goals for the Wolves.

Clarkston has also won 15 of its last 16 games entering the postseason, which begins next week, with its only two losses this season coming against state powerhouses Novi Detroit Catholic Central (11-9) and Birmingham Detroit Country Day (18-9). The loss to DCD snapped the Wolves’ win streak at 11 games just two weeks ago.

Jay Darish had three goals with three assists to pace Troy. Fracassa, Jake Parry and Justice Bigelow added two goals apiece for the Colts. Troy scored more goals on Clarkston than any other team in the league and the second-most goals against the Wolves overall.

“That first quarter showed we can play with the top teams in the state, but it is going to take a full four quarters, especially as you move on in the playoffs,” offered Reynolds. “It was a good experience for our boys and we will definitely improve and build off of this.”

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