Video of St. Andrew’s senior Chase Noah deking a defender and scoring the first goal of the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference semifinals picked up steam quickly. Multiple lacrosse websites posted it online, and people flooded the attackman’s inbox after the team’s 14-4 victory over Sidwell Friends on Friday.
But Coach Dane Smith understood that the biggest game of the season had yet to be played.
“I didn’t expect Chase to go viral overnight,” Smith said. “I had to do a little media control there. I had to tell our guys no more commenting on Instagram. We got another game to play.”
After St. Andrew’s throttled Flint Hill, 16-1, in the final Monday in Potomac to clinch the school’s first conference title since 2002, Smith doesn’t mind the attention now.
The Lions (16-3) were hungry for revenge after getting upset by the Huskies in the championship game last year, despite going undefeated in conference in the regular season. St. Andrew’s swept the conference slate again this year, ready to prove that last season’s hiccup wouldn’t be a recurring event.
Noah had four goals and five assists Monday. Sophomore Liam Savage also scored four goals, and senior Stephen Bickel added three.
“There’s not a lot of tradition here, and we’re trying to build that,” said Smith, who just completed his fifth year as coach. “When you talk to the lacrosse people of the world and especially in this area, they’re starting to take notice of our players.”
On the top of that list is Noah. The Albany commit is a do-it-all athlete who plays more like a midfielder. He finds just as much thrill finding his teammates for open shots as he does dodging and scoring. Despite sitting out the second half of many games, he finished the season with 56 goals and 54 assists.
Anchored by senior Tony Diallo on defense, the Lions allowed just six goals per game; no conference opponent scored more than five goals. Against Flint Hill in the final, the Lions didn’t allow a goal until the final two minutes.
“You could point to a lot of directions for the reasons for our success,” Smith said. “One thing I will always talk about is the creation and the investment that we had in the past four to five years. The step-by-step investment into our culture is why we have been successful.”
That investment is paying off in the form of back-to-back regular season titles and now a tournament crown.
“A championship win like this and a statement season like this show people in this area that we don’t plan on going away,” Smith said. “This is hopefully just the beginning.”