COLUMBIA, Md. -- CCBC Essex yesterday defeated Howard Community College 11-8 to win its ninth consecutive NJCAA Region XX Championship.
The game was tied at eight with 7:35 remaining in regulation when sophomore Brendan Nolan (Fallston) scored the final of his four goals to give the Knights a 9-8 lead.
Freshman Raphael Vargas (Desert Vista) added two goals down the stretch to seal the victory.
Vargas finished the game with four goals. He was named Offensive Most Valuable Player, after scoring 10 goals in the tournament.
Freshman Matt Sallade (Manheim Township) was named the tournaments Defensive Most Valuable Player.
The Knights (15-2) trailed 3-1 late in the first quarter, then sophomores Nolan and Derek Taylor (Perry Hall) scored to tie it as the opening frame closed.
It was a low scoring second quarter and after trading goals the two teams went into halftime tied at four.
After the break, the Knights and Dragons continued its see-saw battle, as neither team could hold more than a one goal lead.
Howard tied the game at eight with 8:34 remaining, but the Knights' defense and Nolan and Vargas proved too much for the Dragons to handle.
NJCAA Region XX All Tournament Team
The Knights are the No. 3 seed for the NJCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship national tournament and will host Union County College (17-2) this Saturday, May 7 in a quarterfinal match. Game time is 12:00 p.m.
The winner moves on to the national final four, hosted by Onondaga C.C. in Syracuse, N.Y.
The Knights opened the 2016 season against Union on Feb. 21 and defeated the Owls 17-2.