Hill Academy Wins National Prep Championship
By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/21/23
BEL AIR, Md. – After losing twice to Culver Academy (IN) last year, The Hill Academy (Ont.) clearly had something to prove in 2023.
Today The Hill did just that in the Victory Events National Prep Championship title game at Cedar Lane Regional Park.
Willem Firth scored five second-half goals and Dylan Sanderson pumped in three while Cameron Sterritt posted 11 saves as The Pride toppled Culver 12-7.
Hill (ranked No. 7 by Inside Lacrosse) closes its season 11-3, including a sweep of the Eagles, which last year downed Hill, 13-8, in the season finale, a title game in a tournament at Western Reserve that combined with the Victory National Preps this year.
“We have a lot of seniors and last year they beat us twice,” said Hill senior co-captain Donny Scott (DEF, Syracuse signee). “We had the effort. The attackmen were scoring and riding hard, the defense was great and we had amazing goaltending. We went after every contested groundball and played Hill lacrosse with heart.”
Culver (ranked No. 8 by Inside Lacrosse, 16-4) did challenge, scoring three unanswered goals to tie it, 5-5, when Noah Ramirez (3G, Navy commit) scored with 4:41 left in the first half to cap a 3-0 run. But Sanderson – a 2025 – scored with 1:23 left in the half off a Ryan Barker feed and Hill dominated the second half.
“No words can describe this win – it’s a statement win,” said Hill senior co-captain Keaton Savitz (MF, Ohio State signee). “They beat us twice last year and we wanted to give it to them this year. We came here and showed them who we were. Champions find a way to win; we’re the dogs here.”
Firth scored two third-period goals and after Culver’s Luke Macaluso drew the Eagles within 8-6, Liam Matthews (2G, Penn State signee) made it 9-6 to open the fourth period. Firth then scored three more before a late Culver tally.
“Our key word is always to be tenacious,” said Firth. “Tenacious on groundballs. We ride the ball hard and our defense is hard. We want to win every small battle.
“It feels amazing. We lost to them in the finals last year and twice during the year. This feels really good to send the seniors off with a win.”
Culver won an amazing 20 of 23 faceoffs, but struggled to get off good shots.
“We didn’t play our best today and hats off to Hill – they played a great lacrosse game,” said Culver coach Jon Birsner. “But it’s more than a game. We pride ourselves on the program and these kids define everything that is Culver and Culver lacrosse.
“We were just making sure they know that. Losses hurt and losses sting and sometimes that never goes away, but who they are and the legacy that this senior class is leaving will make us better.”
Ian Kohut (2023, Bellarmine signee) also scored for Hill.