Posted Friday, June 08, 2007 by .
HEMPSTEAD - The last time the Yorktown boys lacrosse team played at Hofstra University before last night's 12-7 Class A state semifinal loss to defending state champion West Islip was in 2003. In that instance, the Cornhuskers upset Shoreham-Wading River - which was ranked second in the nation - in the final four en route to winning its first state title in 10 years.
Last night, Yorktown faced an opponent every bit as formidable in West Islip, ranked No. 3 in the STX/Inside Lacrosse national rankings.
But this time, the Cornhuskers were unable to pull the upset despite a valiant second-half comeback.
West Islip (19-1) will play Section 3's West Genesee in the state championship game tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. It's a rematch of last year's state title game. West Genesee defeated Section 5's Irondequoit 11-3 in the other semifinal yesterday. West Islip edged West Genesee 7-6 in the title game last year to finish the season 23-0 and end West Genesee's run of four straight state titles.
Last night's game proved to be a microcosm of Yorktown's season, as the Cornhuskers battled back after a rough start. Yorktown, which started the campaign 7-9 and was in danger of suffering its first losing season since 1979, took a five-game winning streak into last night's game.
The Cornhuskers (12-10), who trailed 4-0 early in the second quarter and 7-3 at halftime, pulled within 7-6 with 5:40 left in the third quarter when John Froats scored unassisted.
"I told them at halftime, just have fun and play lacrosse," Yorktown coach Dave Marr said. "They didn't stop, they didn't fold up. We could have easily folded up, but they didn't. It was nice to see. I'm proud of them."
West Islip answered with back-to-back goals and took a 9-6 lead early in the fourth quarter. Brendan Kurpis then scored off a feed from Nick Newman with 10:27 remaining to pull Yorktown within 9-7 before West Islip freshman attackman Nicky Galasso scored his third goal to make it 10-7. Galasso finished with four goals and three assists. The Lions then extended the lead to 11-7 midway through the period.
"We gave it all we had and left it on the field," Newman said. "We knew we had to play perfect. That didn't happen, but we left it all on the field."
Yorktown began its comeback when Kurpis scored off the opening faceoff in the third quarter with Newman assisting. Newman then scored with 8:08 remaining to pull Yorktown within 7-5 before Kurpis followed with another score.
Yorktown's first goal came with 9:06 remaining in the second quarter when Rocky Bonitatibus scored off a feed from Froats to make it a 4-1 game. Froats scored unassisted less than a minute later to pull Yorktown within two.
But West Islip answered with consecutive goals before a man-up goal by Bonitatibus late in the second quarter pulled the Cornhuskers within 6-3. But the Lions got a goal from senior midfielder Vinny Galasso just before the end of the half to take a four-goal lead.
Yorktown received a strong game in goal from sophomore goaltender Michael Bonitatibus, who reclaimed his starting job prior to the start of sectionals. Bonitatibus had 13 saves.
Froats had two goals and an assist. Kurpis and Rocky Bonitatibus each scored twice.