There was a reason why Beverly Hills Detroit Country boys lacrosse team was seeded first in Region 3 of the MHSAA Division 1 tournament.
And the Yellowjackets certainly have the resume to back it up.
Country Day, coming off a Division 2 state crown from a year ago, dominated from start-to-finish Tuesday to beat host and number four seed Northville, 16-3, in a regional semifinal game at Tom Holzer Field.
Senior Emilio Sosa scored five goals, while senior Devon Callaghan added three goals and one assist as Country Day improved to 14-6 overall.
“Sometimes you run into a freight train and it just happened to have DCD on the front of it, they’re a really good team.” said Northville coach Greg Durham, whose team bowed out with a 14-7 record.
It was more like a locomotive coming at the Mustangs during the first half as Country Day jumped out to a 9-0 lead on four goals by Sosa, two by Copper Belanger and one each from Nick Martin, Jimmy Kenney and Callaghan.
“For the most part we were pretty unselfish on both ends of the field,” Country Day coach Michael Cappelletti said. “I think our defense communicated more. We asked them to do that more. They did it tonight. Our goalie (Jackson White) played well. When he does that we’re a different team. He really saw the ball tonight and proud of him for all his efforts.”
Northville didn’t score its first goal until 5:50 left in the third quarter when senior All-American Alec Melucci found the back of the net, but by that time the game was well in hand for the Yellowjackets, who took a 14-2 lead (with a running clock) into the final period.
Melucci, who tallied all three of Northville’s goals with two assists coming from Brennan Sweeney, found a dragnet of Country Day defenders around him all night with junior Jonathan Boos providing the most attention.
“That was the matchup,” Cappelletti said. “We told him (Boos) that he had him, but he had help all night. We just didn’t have to slide to him (Melucci) all night. He got caught ball watching one time, which we told him to be aware of. But 17 is a good player, a very good attack man.
“I thought 19 (Matthew Dolan) did a great job on 34 (Brennan Sweeney). I thought 21 for us did a good job on 22 (Connor Sweeney) and thankfully we didn’t have to slide our midfielder at all over there tonight either, so that was good.”
Time of possession went heavily in Country Day’s favor and that meant less chances for Melucci, the Mustangs’ leading goal producer.
“We couldn’t get him the ball, but when we did get him the ball he scored three goals,” Durham said. “They knew his number. They knew. Obviously if you’re one of the top dogs in the state you’re going to have your number on it.”
Two of Country Day’s six losses this season came against nemesis and 10-time defending Division 1 state champion Birmingham Brother Rice. The other two were against the number-two ranked team in North America, Hill Academy (Ontario), along with one each to Cincinnati St. Xavier (Ohio) and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook.
“Anything we tried to do right we just couldn’t do,” Northville coach Greg Durham said. “The guys were probably a little nervous overall. Every time you step on the field with somebody like them, or someone like (Brother Rice, or any of the big teams, guys are a little bit jittery. We threw the ball away a couple of times. They pressed down on us.”
The Mustangs, KLAA Kensington Conference champs, lose 10 seniors to graduation including Melucci, goalie Alex Justice, David Morrissey, Brian Griffiths, A.J. Batshon, Paul Lindow, Ross Guder, Daniel Baldwin, Rob Sneed and Matt Bryndza.
“Proud of the guys, I told them that,” Durham said. “Alex Justice had a great season. Harry Dyson had a great season. Both Sweeneys had a great season. One game doesn’t define us. Unfortunately it ended up in a loss.”
Country Day, meanwhile, awaits the winner of the other regional semifinal match between third seed Grosse Pointe South and second seed Troy.
“Yesterday (Monday) we just had a walk-through, but Friday and Saturday were the best two practices we’ve had all year,” Cappelletti said. “Our guys were really, really focused. We still have a lot to work on and we’re really going to play a really good team whether it’s Troy or Grosse Pointe South on Friday (7 p.m. Friday at Northville’s Holzer Field) and we got to be ready.”