Yorktown (18-2) dominated Section 2’s Guilderland (20-3) from the opening whistle in yesterday’s Class A state quarterfinal matchup.
The Huskers jumped out to a 7-3 first-quarter lead en route to a lopsided 16-4 win at SUNY Albany.
Yorktown All-American middie John Ranagan scooped up the opening faceoff and found junior attackman Remy Lieberman on a fast-break. Lieberman cashed in to give the Huskers a 1-0 lead just 12 seconds into the game.
The fury of goals continued from there.
Kevin Interlicchio (three goals), Tom Casey (one goal), Remy Lieberman (four goals), Jared Zapakin (one goal), Ty Schuldt (four goals), John Ranagan (one goal) and Justin Mabus (two goals) all contributed to the offensive output.
Now, let’s break down some key elements that contributed to the win:
After sleepwalking through the first two-and-a-half quarters against L/P in the sectionals finals — which almost resulted in the Rebels pulling off a mammoth upset — it appears the Huskers learned their lesson.
“It was learning from our mistakes the other day (against L/P),” Yorktown Head Coach Dave Marr said. “It was finishing our shots early and being intense from the start on groundballs.”
According to Ranagan, the Huskers were a little too wired up before the previous game, which completely backfired once the whistle blew.
“We came out over-psyched against L/P,” Ranagan said. “It was the calm before the storm approach today. We came out relaxed, poised and mentally sound. Once the whistle blew we were fired up.”
Not a sophomore jinx
Sophomore middies Ty Schuldt and Justin Mabus had their best games to date, getting involved in the offense from the start. The duo combined for four of ’Town’s seven first-quarter goals.
Schuldt, who has the poise and stick skills of a veteran, popped in three of his four goals in the first half.
“Ty Schuldt and Justin Mabus can shoot the heck out of the ball,” Ranagan said. “I told them that these are the games they have to step it up.”
Yorktown’s Remy Lieberman is playing his best lacrosse when it matters most. The junior attackman scored a total of four goals against the Dutchmen, displaying his deadly shooting accuracy.
Lieberman has now scored nine goals through four playoff games, which is more than he scored in the first 13 games of the regular season.
Something has clicked for the crafty attackman — that much is evident.
Steal your faceoff
Yorktown — powered by the Ranagan Express — dominated faceoffs the entire game.
The Huskers won 10 of 13 at the draw in the first half, charging out to a 9-3 lead.
“That’s where the game starts and we take a lot of pride in our “off unit,” Ranagan said. “You win these games like these because you win all the faceoffs.”
“I watched this team play before and thought we could have an advantage in faceoffs,” Marr added.
Defense getting down to business
Something must have clicked after L/P took a 9-4 lead midway through the third quarter of the Section 1 finals.
Since that point, Yorktown’s starting defense has given up four goals (Guilderland scored one after the starters were pulled).
Against Guilderland, all three goals the starters gave up came in the first quarter. After the defense settled in, it was game over.
The Dutchmen had quality stick-handlers and shooters, but they were unable to penetrate Yorktown’s defense. John Fennessy, Brendan Brunelle, Ethan Fox and Brett Cabriele owned the belly of the field. On the oft chance a Guilderland player found a seam, there was a devastating slide there to meet him.
As a result of the tight defense, keeper Michael Bonitatibus swatted away long-range Guilderland shots like they were pesky mosquitoes.