Jun 08, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
For a full year, the Jamesville-DeWitt boys lacrosse team had worked hard to get back to the state Class B championship game, looking to atone for its 2013 defeat to Garden City and claim its fourth state title in eight years.
But on the brink of fulfilling that quest, the Red Rams were halted as Yorktown, hanging on in the waning seconds, edged J-D 10-9 Saturday afternoon at Hofstra University on Long Island.
By doing so, the Huskers, who hail from Section I, claimed its seventh state championship, but its first since 2003 – when it also beat J-D for it by a 10-6 margin.
Here, so many of the things that had bothered J-D throughout its post-season run, from face-off struggles to an inconsistent defense, popped up again, only this time the Rams’ overwhelming attack could not quite make up for those deficiencies.
It all started at the X, where Yorktown’s senior captain, Luke Palmadesso, won each of the first four face-offs, leading to lots of Yorktown possession time and initiating a trend where the Huskers would take 19 of 23 draws from the Rams.
After Yorktown took a 1-0 lead on Nick Delbene’s goal 3:17 into the game, Palmadesso won the ensuing face-off and, charging down the field, scored just six seconds later. With goals from Nicky Bonitatibus and Matt Gonzales, Yorktown doubled its margin to 4-0 by the end of the first quarter.
Just as it had done before in the post-season, though, J-D shook off that bad start and caught up in the second period with one of its trademark offensive outbursts. Within a span of less than three minutes, Grayson Burns and Ryan McKee both scored twice, tying the game at 4-4.
And J-D kept charging, even after Connor Vercruysse connected with 3:59 left in the half to put the Huskers back in front. It had a series of pushes late in the half, only to see Huskers goalie Austin Graham make some close-up stops, allowing Yorktown to cling to a 5-4 lead at the break.
In the third quarter, the Huskers’ defense seized the spotlight, as Daniel Delbene continued to shadow J-D’s leading goal-scorer, Griffin Feiner, everywhere and keep him off the board.
Burns did tie the game, 5-5, early in the period off a feed from Griffin Johnson, but Yorktown countered with a big 3-0 run to move in front for good. Goals by Bonitatibus, Vercruysse and Kris Alvarado pushed the Husker to an 8-5 advantage.
Looking for a comeback similar to the one it pulled off against Victor in the state semifinals earlier in the week, J-D started to rally again with Anthony DiGiovanni’s goal late in the third period, and needed it since Nick Bel Bene converted 42 seconds into the fourth quarter, making it 9-6.
Still, the Rams weren’t done. Burns got his fourth goal with 9:02 left and, less than two minutes later, DiGiovanni found the net again, and it was 9-8 with a whole lot of time on the clock.
Then came the game’s biggest play. J-D was a man up, looking to pull back even, but instead Yorktown’s Austin Fusco forced a turnover, picked up the ball and charged down the field, eventually flinging a shot past Rams goalie Joe Morgan.
That would prove to be the game-winner, because Feiner, off a feed from Brad Carr, finally got his first goal with 48 seconds left, but as he had done all afternoon, Palmadesso won the ensuing face-off and the Huskers ran off the rest of the clock.