YORKTOWN - After their first loss of the season, discouraged Yorktown teammates scattered about the field to deal with the disappointment. Most were completely worn out after working desperately to stay within range, and the confused expressions spoke volumes.
A team meeting was called in the locker room.
Of course, those gatherings rarely change the course of history. There are several issues Yorktown needs to correct on the field to prevent a repeat of the scene that played out following yesterday's 8-6 loss to resurgent Long Island power Ward Melville.
It starts with a better approach.
The 'Huskers (5-1) came in sixth in the latest Inside Lacrosse/Under Armour rankings, but they were backpedaling for most of the first quarter.
"I hope this showed everyone how hard teams are going to come after us," senior defenseman Ethan Fox said. "Those national rankings don't mean anything to us, but to other teams, when they see us sitting up there, they hate that and want to come after us - especially the Section 1 teams. We either have to match that intensity or have greater intensity."
John Edmonds came sprinting in for a transition goal with 10:23 to go in the first quarter to put the Patriots (6-2) in front. Yorktown appeared to be nervous early on, turning the ball over four times in five possessions. Al DeStefano made it a 2-0 lead for Ward Melville 1:16 before the period ended.
"We played a lot of defense and didn't have many settled possessions on offense," Yorktown coach Dave Marr said. "We just kept throwing the ball back to them on the clears. Offensively, we were pretty bad."
Thomas Casey, Kevin Interlicchio and John Ranagan got Yorktown in front 3-2 with a barrage in the opening minutes of the second, but that was the highlight.
It wasn't long before Will Mazzone and Nick Giampolo were scoring within 24 seconds of each other to give the Patriots breathing room. Cody Ferraro added the first of his three goals, and long-stick midfielder Tyler Brennan came in for a goal to make it 6-3 with 28 seconds left in the third.
"We had poor communication on that end," senior defenseman John Fennessy said.
It seems the Patriots had scouted Interlicchio.
Matt Conklin aggressively shadowed the 'Huskers' leading scorer, and he got plenty of help from teammates who cheated a step toward Interlicchio whenever possible.
"There was no way he was beating us," Conklin said.
Casey got a few opportunities and hit the pipe three times, but the offense struggled to sustain possessions and move the ball.
"It's a lot of pressure to keep up the intensity on the defensive end," Fox said.
A power move from Interlicchio got Yorktown a goal early in the fourth quarter, and Ranagan stole a clearing pass with seven minutes to go and set up Casey to give Yorktown hope. But Ward Melville scored twice in transition, killing the rally.
"Personally, I would love to be undefeated going into the playoffs, but it's always good to have that one loss under your belt to show you that you're not the best," Fennessy said. "There's always that one team that can come out and beat you."