ADRIAN, Mich. – The road to the MIAA regular season title had been building up to the last day of the season and the showdown between Adrian and Albion lived up to the hype with the host Bulldogs capturing the 2014 crown with a 17-14 victory over the visiting Britons. Adrian has now won back-to-back MIAA regular season titles and five straight conference regular season titles including three from their days in the Midwest Lacrosse Conference. The Bulldogs have yet to lose a conference regular season matchup in five seasons going 35-0.
The Bulldogs (11-3, 6-0) and Britons (11-4, 5-1) battled closely for three of the four quarters and the difference came in the second as Adrian scored seven times compared to four for the Britons. Albion led 4-3 after the first quarter as Cameron Braun's 25th goal of the season at 2:35 gave Albion the lead.
The Bulldogs took a 7-6 lead at 5:28 of the second and would hold the lead for the rest of the game. Eric Fannell scored the 40th goal of his freshman season from Clayton Warren. Drake Dailey-Chwalibog scored the 11th goal of his senior season at 4:44 from Doug Boyd to make it 8-6. Brendan Harvey notched his 11th goal of the season at 2:13 to give Adrian its largest lead at 10-7.
Brad Bogus scored the last goal of the second and first goal of the third to cut the lead to 10-9 for Albion. Nick Karapas scored twice and Fannell added another goal to stretch the lead to 13-9 with 8:16 left in the third. Albion got back to 13-11 on goals by Dylan Neal and Tim Urso, but Harvey scored his fourth goal of the game with 19 seconds left in the third as Adrian led 14-11 with 15 minutes to go.
The Britons once again knocked on the door with goals by Neal and Braun to start the fourth. Fannell, Boyd and Tom Thielman scored three straight goals from the 8:45 mark to the 4:32 mark to put the game away at 17-13. Fannell and Thielman each took advantage on a man-up situation. Urso scored with 1:08 left but Adrian had already secured the win.
Senior Kevin Lerg made seven saves in net for the Bulldogs. Fannell finished with five goals on five shots on net. Boyd registered three goals and four assists. Senior Lido Aldini led Adrian with five ground balls and had one caused turnover. Harvey subbed in and scored four times while taking a total of 11 shots. Karapas notched three goals and one assist with five shots on goal.
Adrian will now prepare to defend its MIAA Tournament championship beginning with the semifinals on Thursday, May 1. The Bulldogs will host fourth-seeded Olivet (9-7) at 7 p.m. and earlier this season defeated the Comets, 15-5, on April 15.