Posted Monday, March 28, 2011 by laxlessons.com and Insidelacrosse.com
IL High School Insider Joe Lombardi, the author of the “Lax with Joe” blog at LaxLessons.com, focuses on the Hudson Valley/Long Island/Connecticut region. Joe is also an analyst for the MSG Varsity television network and isthe primary author of the new edition of “Lacrosse for Dummies,” which was released last year.
The John Jay-Yorktown meeting has been regarded as the regular season game of the year in New York’s Section 1 for nearly a decade.
And timing has been a big part of it.
The game has traditionally been played toward the end of the regular season – with enough time for anticipation and excitement to build.
But for the second straight season, the game will be played in Week 1.
In fact, this year it’s both teams’ regular-season opener. The game is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 2 in Cross River.
The game has extra meaning this year in that it could be a preview of a postseason rematch, possibly the sectional final, since Yorktown has moved back down to Class B.
The teams last met in the sectional final in 2006, with John Jay pulling out a dramatic 10-9 overtime win to hand Yorktown its first sectional title-game loss since 1997.
The rivalry between the teams began in 1983 shortly after Bob Kear, a 1968 Yorktown graduate, had launched a varsity team at John Jay.
While the meetings have been highly anticipated, the rivalry has become more than a game, and a true community event with the two communities coming together for good causes.
The last few years, proceeds benefitted Breast Cancer Research.
This year’s game is being dedicated to the battle against ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
A weekend of activities and events to benefit the fight against ALS will be capped off by the game.
At halftime, new inductees into the John Jay Hall of Fame will be honored, including former Indians All-America lacrosse star John Cunniffe.
Cunniffe, who played against Yorktown when the rivalry between the schools was born in the 1980s, played collegiately at Army and is a veteran of the Gulf War,.
All five teams that have won sectional titles the last two years – Lakeland/Panas (Class A in 2010), John Jay (Class B in 2010), Putnam Valley (Class C in 2009 and ’10), Yorktown (Class A in 2009) and Somers (Class B in 2009) – lost their starting goaltenders to graduation.
That has created spirited competitions for starting spots all those programs.