YORKTOWN - This is supposedly a down year by its standards. The naysayers have been out in droves, each offering their opinions on the plight of the storied Yorktown boys lacrosse program.
The Cornhuskers finished the regular season with a sub.-500 mark and lost the Charlie Murphy Cup to rival Lakeland/Panas for the first time since 1994 and only the second time in the 18 years the teams have battled for the trophy.
Yet, here Yorktown is, at 9-9 and back in the same position its been in every year since 1980, playing in the sectional championship game.
"That means a lot to us," junior midfielder Rocky Bonitatibus said after spearheading Yorktown's offense in the second-seeded Cornhuskers' 7-5 win over No. 6 Suffern in a Section 1 Class A semifinal at Charlie Murphy Field yesterday.
"We've always been on top and now people are doubting us. They have every right to be doubting us because of our record. But we are just going to pick up the intensity in sectionals."
Suffern (10-9) certainly made the 'Huskers crank it up a notch in the second half. Yorktown, which will square off against top-seeded Lakeland/Panas for the section crown at 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Suffern Middle School, had a 4-1 advantage heading into the third quarter. But the Mounties scrapped their way back into it.
Jared Harbus got Suffern going with the initial goal of the second half and junior longstick defenseman Evan Shreck also got into the act, racing downfield and firing in a shot to shave Yorktown's lead to a goal.
The Mounties scored two of the next three goals in the six-goal third quarter to square it at 5-5 and give themselves some serious hope.
"We just didn't want the season to end," said Harbus, a junior attackman. "We saw it going there, first two quarters down three points. We just tried coming back as hard as we could."
Bonitatibus, though, almost singlehandedly crushed the Mounties' comeback hopes. As the clock was set to expire to end the third quarter, he let loose a rocket shot from about 15 yards away that would've probably landed somewhere in Pleasantville if the net didn't stop it.
It was ruled good, giving the 'Huskers a 6-5 lead - and the all important momentum.
"We say it wasn't in and he (the official) said it was in," Suffern coach Dave McNally said. "If you're from Suffern, it's not in. If you're from Yorktown, it's in so ..."
Brendan Kurpis came up with a big insurance goal with 5:44 to play when he stuffed home a feed from John Ranagan. After that, the semi-celebration was on for Yorktown, which has a little revenge on its mind.
"It's something we have been looking forward to," Yorktown coach Dave Marr said. "During the season, we lost the Murphy Cup for the first time in a long time, so we have been kind of working to get this. We have had a couple of more bumps in the road on the way, but they seem a little bit more refocused for the playoffs and we are playing a little bit better."