Dreadnaught lacrosse earns share of SEC title, sweeps Bulldogs





By: Seth Kinker, skinker@thesuntimesnews.com

The Dexter Dreadnaught boys lacrosse team (11-4) ended their regular season with a win, clinching a share of the SEC White on May 14 as they defeated their rival, the Chelsea Bulldogs (8-9) in a rescheduled match at Al Ritt stadium.

A back and forth first half saw the Dreadnaughts hold a 7-4 lead at halftime before emerging with the 15-7 win.

Early on, it was all Dreadnaughts. Attackers Grisha Griffiths and Ryan Lotz had goals right out of the gate to put the Dreadnaughts in control.



The Dreadnaughts would add three more goals to make it 5-0 at the end of the first quarter. Midfielder Jasper Howell scored an unassisted goal down the middle, Griffiths notched his second, and Howell scored his second as time expired in the quarter. 

“The first quarter, we did exactly  what our game plan said,” said Dreadnaught head coach James Nichols. “We worked the ball from behind, we knew they were going to slide adjacent, so we worked on it all in practice.”

“We just came out so flat and slow,” said Bulldog head coach Joe Koengeter. “We didn’t move without the ball, we were flat footed, we were just standing there. (We) changed that up and got some intensity and momentum. Once we got that first goal, we got the momentum rolling, it just wasn’t quite enough at the end of the day.” 

In the second quarter the Bulldogs flipped the script on the Dreadnaughts, scoring the first four goals by dominating play similar to the way the Dreadnaughts had in the first. 

First, it was Bulldog attacker Aidan Boote finding Ethan Dunahoo in transition for the low shot by the net to beat the keeper. Then, it was Mitch Sumner with 6:58 in the half from his knees after a centering pass. Next, it was Cam Breining after a Dreadnaught penalty and a nice rotation from the Bulldogs to find the open shot. Finally, Riley Sumner bullied his way over a defender to get the open shot. 

“We forced too many passes,” said Nichols on the Dreadnaughts second quarter performance. We got fancy.”

With momentum on the Bulldogs side, the Dreadnaughts answered.

With 40 seconds left in the first half, Howell wrapped around the back of the goal, found Lotz on the side, who fired a pass to the middle for Mason Loudermilk. Loudermilk spun and fired low for the goal to boost the Dreadnaught lead back to 6-4. 

Then, the Dreadnaughts won the ensuing faceoff and quickly called a timeout with under 30 seconds remaining in the first half to get their substitutes on. Assistant coach Justin Mambro made the call to run their man up offense that led to a wide-open shot for Dreadnaught Kyle Burke, who finished it high to send the Dreadnaughts into the half with a 7-4 lead. 

“We weren’t man up, but we weren’t moving our feet in the second quarter,” explained Nichols. “That offense was designed to move our feet; we got a good look that was unscripted. It was the time Burke was on the field at that point and he caught it and had a good shot. He’s been feeling himself the past few games and it was nice to see him do well today.” 

During the break Nichols said they made a few adjustments to their line up after the Bulldogs noticed the Dreadnaughts wanted to attack from the X with their midfielders. 

“We put a couple attackers in midfield and switched positions,” said Nichols. “We were able to dodge with our heads up and the guys off ball were talking. When we communicate on offense were unstoppable.” 

A blistering third quarter that saw the Dreadnaughts return to first quarter form gave them their biggest lead of the game as they outscored the Bulldogs 6-1. 

Howell and Lotz scored in the first two minutes of the quarter before the Bulldogs got a goal from Riley Sumner, who made a great grab while cutting to the crease before getting the shot off to make it 9-5 still in favor of the Dreadnaughts. 

After that, Lotz, Loudermilk, Jake Kapusanky, and Howell scored to give the Dreadnaughts the 13-5 commanding lead heading into the fourth.

In the fourth quarter, Loudermilk and Howell added goals for the Dreadnaughts while Zach Cooley and Breining scored for the Bulldogs to make the final score 15-7. 

Howell lead the Dreadnaughts with five goals, Lotz and Loudermilk both had three, Griffiths had two, and Burke and Kapusanky both finished with one. 

R. Sumner and Breining led the Bulldogs with two goals each while Dunahoo, M. Sumner, and Cooley all added one. 

After dropping the first match up against Tecumseh the Dreadnaughts won the rematch to put themselves into a position to clinch a share of the SEC White title tonight. 

“We’re happy about that, these guys earned it,” said Nichols. “The seniors have led this team through thick and thin. We’re at an all-time high right now.” 

Now, it’s the postseason. Win or go home. On May 17 the Dreadnaughts host East Lansing and the Bulldogs host DeWitt. 

“These guys had four games in five days,” said Nichols after the win. “We’re going to give  them a day off tomorrow, watch some film on our opponent EL, and then get back to work. The regular season is over, post season time now. We’re playing our best lacrosse now, we haven’t done anything different, things are just starting to click.” 

“We just got to out this one behind us,” said Koengeter. “This one’s going to hurt. It’s never fun to lose to your rival at their field. This one’s going to hurt. We got to come in, let this one settle in overnight, come in tomorrow and focus up. 1 game season from here on out, that’s what we have to focus on.”





Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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