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Allentown Central Catholic’s balance shines in convincing PIAA championship win

Sunday, 13th June 2021

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School  
 

Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/13/21 – Staff Report

 Chuck Kuczynski knew the scouting report, and the defenseman knew how opponents would read it.

In the PIAA Class 2A final Saturday at West Chester East, the opponent would look at the game film of Allentown Central Catholic, it would cross-reference the college destinations, and it would come to a conclusion. Jack McGorry, fresh off 10 goals in the PIAA semifinal, would be the guy to focus on, maybe lock off in situations.

So, Kuczynski and his ACC teammates reverse-engineered the game plan. They knew if Mars Area, their finals opponent, thought the way to shut down ACC was to eliminate McGorry, then others would have to prove it wrong.

“Our key factor was, they were probably going to shut off Jack,” Kuczynski said. “We told everybody that to win this, everybody needs to step up and play well, and everybody came to play today and I couldn’t ask for anything more from my team. “

Allentown Central Catholic players hoist the PIAA Championship plaque

For 48 minutes Saturday, ACC proved that it’s more than just McGorry, or Kuczynski, or any other individual. Instead, it’s a team worthy of entering its name in the history of Pennsylvania lacrosse.

The Vikings got contributions from all over the roster Saturday in a 14-5 dismantling of Mars. In the process, the first PIAA lacrosse finalist from District 11 (boys or girls) became the first PIAA lacrosse champion from District 11. In putting District 11 on the state-wide map, the Vikings also made the statement that this year’s team isn’t the result of one or two studs. Instead, it’s a group that has grown the depth necessary to lift a state championship.

The stars were immense Saturday at Zimmerman Stadium. Kuczynski scored three goals, a first hat trick since eighth grade for the Syracuse-bound pole. McGorry tallied three goals. Tyler Schifko, a midfielder committed to Utah, scored twice.

But five others registered points, led by three goals and an assist from Ben Scandone.

“Everybody’s effort today, even subs coming on the field, giving starters some rest, everyone really came to play,” Kuczynski said. “And really, this whole season, everybody gave it their everything, nobody slacked off, and it paid off for us in the end.”

“That’s (balance) what we talked about,” added ACC coach Dan Dolphin. “Last game Jack scored 10 goals and Tyler had four and I told them against a team like this , obviously, they are going to be keying on Jack and Tyler and some other people have to pick up the slack and they did today.”

The defensive effort demonstrated that depth, too. Kuczynski was everywhere, an absolute terror in passing lanes and on the ground. But they muted a previously unbeaten Mars team thanks to a cohesive defensive unit. Davis Ike backed it with 13 saves in an outstanding performance. But the ability of poles like Aidan Carroll, Diego Colon and Jack Keenan to cohere defensively make ACC a defense to be reckoned with.  

“It’s just nice knowing that we’re all on the same terms,” Ike said. “If someone slides and, even if they don’t call it, I look over and our next slide is there, on the guy catching the ball. It’s nice to play with a defense that has each other’s backs.”

You could see it throughout from ACC in so man little details. Ike pointed out the crispness of defensive assignments. They had great wing coverage to help faceoff man Derek Lystad (13-for-23). Even late on, with the game well in hand, the way Ike communicated with his defense to keep standards high, was indicative of a team that was more than just catching lightning in a bottle with a few top prospects.

And, as the bevy of smiling Vikings will tell you, it’s not a breakthrough that has come by accident, but by a concerted effort of those in the program to push for states glory.

“It doesn’t happen all the time, but it wasn’t by chance,” McGorry said. “These guys came to work every day of the season for years now, and we knew from all the work we put it, in was bound to happen.”

“It’s unreal. I don’t know any other words to describe it,” Ike said. “Just seeing us all come down for practice in January and February when it’s cold out and it’s a battle to get yourself on that practice field. But this is why you do it, for moments like this.”

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