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ACC tops Northwestern in District 11 lacrosse final

The Northwestern boys lacrosse team has been competing in District 11 for three seasons.

In just that short amount of time, head coach Marcus Janda, his staff, and players have put together a program that is already contending for championships.

Northwestern’s determination to be competitive has certainly paid off, as it faced off with defending state champion Allentown Central Catholic on Thursday in the District 11 Class 2A championship.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, they ran into a buzz saw in the Vikings, who were able to defeat Northwestern 13-3 to capture back-to-back district titles.

Central Catholic controlled the tempo and the flow of the contest from the start, spending a lot of time on its offensive end as it put pressure on the Tigers defense. The result was a 5-1 advantage as the match neared intermission.

The Vikings’ Ben Scandone was the offensive catalyst during the early ACC run, scoring three goals and also coming through with two assists.

“When you play a team the caliber of Central Catholic and they dominate the possession battle like they did today, that creates an extremely difficult circumstance,” said Janda. “That is a very good program with a lot of very talented players, and if you’re going to play defense for 70 percent of the game, the end result is what you saw today.

“But this was a great learning experience for the whole program today. This is just our third season, our first district playoffs, and the experience our underclassmen got today was invaluable.”

The Tigers would be able to close within three right before the half on a goal from Blaine Snyder off an assist from Andrew Collins with just 3.6 seconds remaining in the second period. Northwestern won the second frame 1-0, and headed into the break with momentum.

“I was ecstatic about our second quarter. Our defense really tightened up,” said Janda. “I always preach that the beginning of the third quarter is so important, and we wanted to come out and make an impact there. But credit to them, they really came out swinging to start the third.”

The Vikings did come out swinging in the third, shutting out the Tigers in the period and scoring five goals of their own. Scandone was yet again impressive, scoring three goals during that stretch to help ACC carry a 10-2 advantage into the fourth period.

“I really liked the way we played defense tonight,” said Central Catholic head coach Kevin O’Neill. “We play a team-concept-style of defense, and the guys followed the plan and executed today, and our freshman goalie really rose to the occasion as well. Scandone was also terrific for us tonight. He really looks forward to these big games and excels in these moments.”

Northwestern was able to get on the scoreboard in the fourth on a Cade Christopher goal, but continued tight defense from the Vikings and three more goals - including another from Scandone -- put the game well out of reach for the Tigers.

“I feel great where the program is at, and I’m proud of these guys for their effort this season,” said Janda. “Who expected us to be competing for a district championship this season other than us coaches and these players? We took a step forward this season as a program, and we’re excited for the future.”

Scandone led everyone with seven goals for ACC. Snyder, Christopher and Austin Sosnovik were the goal scorers on the day for the Tigers.

The Vikings currently have the longest win streak in the state at 32 straight games, including Tuesday’s 20-2 win over Devon Prep in the first round of the state tournament.

Northwestern's Cade Christopher (26) tries to get around Allentown Central Catholic defender Jack Keenan is Thursday's District 11 Class 2A championship game. NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Tiger goal keeper Bailen Smargiassi looks to send the ball downfield during the District 11 title game.