Photo by Isaac Cass
Yorktown's John Ranagan, who scored a game-high five goals, sprints past Lakeland/Panas' John Fitzpatrick Saturday at Yorktown High School.
Yorktown defeats visiting Lakeland/Panas
11-8 Saturday, capturing the Murphy Cup
for the 18th time in 20 years
Yorktown had just defeated cross-town rival Lakeland/Panas in the Murphy Cup, 11-8.
Huskers senior captain John Ranagan wasted little time reveling in the victory, sprinting toward the scorers’ table to grab the trophy, known as “The Murph Cup.”
Ranagan, trailed by a stream of green and white jerseys, proceeded to do a beeline toward L/P’s cheering section on the far sideline. He hoisted the cup skyward with one hand and haughtily displayed it.
The Hopkins-bound middie was merely proving a point.
“The cup belongs in Yorktown,” Ranagan said.
While it wasn’t the most politically correct celebration, it was honest and emotionally summoned from the heart.
And when it comes to the fiery Murph Cup — which was named after the Godfather of Yorktown Lacrosse, Charlie Murphy — emotion and heart are the matches and lighter fluid.
With that said, there were two key factors that intensified this Saturday’s game even more.
First, every Yorktown player — minus goalie Michael Bonitatibus, who started his freshman year in 2005 — was playing in his first Murphy Cup on Charlie Murphy Field. The previous two years were played at Lakeland. Yorktown hosted the two years before that after Murph passed away in 2005.
“This was definitely a special feeling and something I hadn’t experienced in my high school career,” Yorktown’s Kevin Interlicchio said.
Secondly, it was the first time the game had been played at night. According to Yorktown Head Coach Dave Marr, 5 p.m. was the latest start prior to this year’s game, which started at 7 p.m.
“Coming back to our place, Murph turf, we knew we had to win it,” Yorktown’s John Fennessy said.
Despite this year’s bigger stage, it was the same old song and dance. Yorktown (9-1) harnessed the fire within, taking home the cup for the 18th time in the last 20 years.
For 15 of those years, the Huskers brought the cup directly to Murph’s house, where he would proudly display it on a crowded mantle of trophies. After Murph passed away in 2005, the winning post-game tradition came to an end.
But his lasting memory didn’t fade away.
“Desire,” Ranagan said when asked why Yorktown has dominated the Murphy Cup rivalry. “I think that we just do it for everyone watching, for everyone that knew Murph closely.”
Against the Rebels (9-2), Ranagan was the personification of desire. He ripped five goals and notched an assist, employing his characteristic brand of domineering lacrosse. With 6:27 left in the second quarter, he stroked his third tally of the game, giving Yorktown a commanding 7-3 lead.
The goal was vintage Ranagan. Moving to his left in transition, he swallowed three L/P defenders like Jaws swimming through a school of minnows. He split the first two defensemen like a wishbone and outran a trailing third before releasing a precise bounce shot into the upper shelf of the net.
“When [Ranagan] gets a head of steam, it’s hard to stop him with one, two or even three guys,” Yorktown Head Coach Dave Marr said. “He seems to thrive in the open field.”
L/P Head Coach Jim Lindsay admitted they didn’t have an answer for Ranagan.
“There’s a reason why John Rangan is an All-American and he’s going to Hopkins,” Lindsay said. “He showed it tonight. He plays the game the way it’s meant to be played. He plays hard, he runs hard, he’s all over the field and he’s emotional. I think that was the difference in the game. When they needed a big goal, he got it for them.”
Interlicchio, a junior attackman, also rose to the occasion. With the initials “CM” scrawled on his face in eye black, he honored “Mr. Murph” by scoring four goals and dishing out an assist.
Taking the modest route, Interlicchio deflected any sort of individual praise.
“With everyone else stepping up, the defense can’t play as close attention to [Ranagan] and I as they’d like,” said Interlicchio, who will join Ranagan at Hopkins. “I just got a couple open shots and buried them.”
Tom Casey (one goal, two assists) and Justin Mabus (one goal, one assist) rounded out Yorktown’s scoring.
Heading into halftime — which saw Yorktown hold a comfy 7-3 lead — the Rebels looked like a dizzied fighter struggling to find his equilibrium. But halftime served as an all you can eat smelling salts buffet. L/P came back with a renewed energy, outscoring Yorktown 5-4 in the second half.
Stephen Hoch (11 saves) stood on his head in the cage, turning away Yorktown shots at every turn to keep it close. On offense, L/P took advantage of man-up opportunities and finished their shots. With 5:39 left in regulation, Chris Monteferante netted a goal to cut the deficit lead to 10-8.
“We have been down before in these games,” said Lindsay, whose squad rallied back in a similar situation in last year’s Murph Cup, which they ended up losing 10-9. “We just told them, ‘hey, you’ve weathered the storm. You can fight with these kids. But we have to do it one goal at a time.’”
Connor Prunty, James Bugeya (two goals), John Fitzpatrick and Will Fallo all cashed in on second-half goals for the Rebels.
L/P face-off maestro Johnny Hittman, who dominated the X all game, came up with the ensuing draw after Monteferante’s tally. He then setup middie Shawn Honovich (two goals) in transition, but Honovich couldn’t convert.
“If [Honovich] puts it in and it’s 10-9, I think we have a different game,” Lindsay said.
Marr was hit with two conduct penalties for arguing calls inside the final seven minutes of the fourth. He was eventually ejected at the 1:19 mark, earning a one-game suspension.
As Yorktown unraveled, L/P started to come together. The Rebels went on a 2-1 run during the dicey stretch.
“Me losing my composure didn’t help,” Marr said. “The kids lost their composure too and didn’t show real sportsmanship, which isn’t good. When I do that, it leads to the kids getting a little excited. I just have to a better job myself and keep us calm. At 10-5, we should have been able to clamp it down and put a couple more in instead of letting them back in the game.”
Like a brush fire that roars out of control, the emotional overload almost burned the Huskers when it mattered most.
At the same time, it also fueled the only thing that truly mattered: winning the game for Mr. Murph.
“We know what every game means to us, but this one means a little bit more,” Fennessy said. “Charlie Murphy started our program for us and we are going to keep running with it. This game was for him.”