Articles from Journal News and then MSG Varsity follows.
CROSS RIVER — The electronic pep talks apparently did the job.
All week long, a number of notable Yorktown alumni have been texting some of the current stars, hoping to help the 'Huskers get off on the right foot. They got a running start against John Jay and opened the season with a surprising 12-7 victory on Saturday.
"We really wanted revenge," Justin Mabus said. "Losing this game by a goal last year did not sit well, and some of the seniors from that team let us know they wanted us to win this game. We all stepped up. We all played our hearts off. It's awesome to have all these people behind you."
Mike Daniello got loose in traffic and gave the Indians a 1-0 lead three minutes in, but Yorktown was dominant in the faceoff circle and took control of the game.
Mabus evened the score, then Brian Quigley and Nick Mariano gave the 'Huskers a quick 3-1 lead. John Jay was being forced to play defense for long stretches. Brendan Morris narrowed the lead, but Conor Gately and Mariano answered before the first period was over.
"They have a lot of guys who can hurt you and they played a team game," John Jay coach Tim Schurr said. "We played a lot of defense because we couldn't win possession on the faceoffs. The offensive guys are watching us play defense for a long time and they end up getting anxious."
And that's not a good thing.
The Indians wound up rushing a number of possessions, which only fed into what Yorktown was doing. Each mistake allowed the 'Huskers to patiently work the ball around, take some time off the clock and build the lead.
Frank Fusco had them in front 6-2 at halftime.
"Winning all those faceoffs was huge," said Ty Schuldt, who along with Hunter Palancia kept winning the ball for Yorktown. "It's definitely frustrating to any team that wants to get the offense going. We had possession most of the game."
After letting a lead slip away in last year's game, the 'Huskers were not letting go.
Schuldt tacked on another goal in the first minute of the second half. Brendan Morris and Jake Weil made it 7-4, but Yorktown took a deep breath, moved the ball around, let the clock run and got a spinning goal from Quigley. Schuldt got one more before the period ended.
"If you remember, last year we had the same 6-2 lead at halftime," Mabus said. "I guess you could say we got our heads out of that game. At halftime, we all reminded each other. We had to come out even harder, and that's what we did."
The 'Huskers were good on defense, too.
Matthew Sialiano was strong in goal in his first starting assignment, and Eric Cooley, Brian Fahey and Trevor Koelsch were all over the ball except for a lapse in the final minutes. The cushion went to 12-4 before John Jay threw in a couple of late goals.
"I think we're playing well," Yorktown coach Dave Marr said. "Offensively, we shared the ball with each other. Defensively, we were good until the last couple of minutes. We had the ball. We controlled it well. We got good shots off, and when they got the ball, they got a little anxious. That's what happens when you don't have the ball much."
Check out video highlights from this game (WATCH)
Yorktown: Conor Gately (2G, 2A); Justin Mabus (2G, 1A); Ty Schuldt (2G, 1A); Nick Mariano (2G), Brian Quigley (2G), Frankie Fusco (1G); Joe Saliano (1G)
John Jay-Cross River: Mike Daniello (2G); Brendan Morris (2G); Jake Weil (2G); Jack Lambert (1G): Mike Lupinacci (2A); Dan LoBosco (1A); Doug Brown (1A)
CROSS RIVER, NY — In what was a potential preview of the Section 1 Class B finals, the underdog morphed into the favorite.
Yorktown (1-0) pulled off the magic trick with a convincing 12-7 victory over defending Class B champ John Jay-Cross River (0-1) on Saturday evening. The Indians, who came into the season ranked No. 21 in the country by Inside Lacrosse, trailed by as many as eight goals in the fourth quarter.
Simply put: The Huskers weren't just better — they were a lot better.
“This preseason we really stepped up and really did all we could,” said Yorktown senior captain Justin Mabus, who tallied two goals and an assist. “I think our hard work really paid off tonight.”
Look no further than the faceoff X for evidence. Yorktown — which has struggled mightily at the draw over the past few years — won 65 percent (15-of-23) of the faceoffs.
Senior captain Ty Schuldt and junior Hunter Palancia did the grunt work at X, while long-stick middie Andrew Cohen and middie Jake Thorp aided from the wings, scooping up two ground balls apiece.
For the Huskers, it was at long last a winning combination.
“The past couple years we have had problems with it,” said Schuldt, who had a pair of goals and an assist. “We fixed it during the section finals last year. But we kept on working as hard as we could in the preseason and into the start of the season. We showed it on the field today.”
Yorktown's dominance at the draw correlated directly to the scoreboard. The Huskers won 7-of-8 faceoffs in the opening quarter en route to building a 5-2 lead. Mabus, Brian Quigley and Nick Mariano rattled off three straight goals in the span 68 seconds, erasing an early 1-0 deficit in the process.
For John Jay, keeping up proved difficult. Yorktown's offense moved the ball with purpose and precision, making it seem like lacrosse sticks were merely extensions of their anatomy.
At the root of it all, of course, was a word thrown around a lot by players and coaches during the postgame: “unselfishness.”
Overall, seven Yorktown players scored goals, including five that each scored two goals.
“The whole preseason into the regular season we were just working on getting the ball around, having confidence in everybody on the field, not being afraid to throw the ball to an underclassmen or anything like that,” Schuldt said. “We are just trying to get everyone involved and that's what we have to do to win games.”
It's a bit of a throwback style. And it's also one that suits Yorktown — a team without one, go-to superstar — perfectly. Unlike last year, the Huskers aren't relying on someone like Kevin Interlicchio, who finished his career as the program's all-time leading scorer, to provide the offense. Instead, they have a bunch of highly talented kids who appear equally qualified to get the job done when called upon.
“We are deeper now,” Yorktown coach Dave Marr said. “The ball moves better because the guys got a year older, they are a little stronger and it's a little easier to move the ball around. Right now, we are nine-deep offensively. They are all playing really well in terms of sharing the ball, moving off the ball and being unselfish.”
Yorktown used the everyman style of play to pull away from John Jay, which got back-to-back goals from Brendan Morris and Jake Weil to trim the deficit to 7-4 with 6:50 left in the third quarter. The Huskers responded with five straight goals scored by five different players — Quigley, Schuldt, Mabus, Saliano and Gately, who capped the surge with 5:38 left in the fourth quarter to boost the lead to 12-4.
“Our defense was working hard, but unfortunately they got caught watching the ball a couple times on the crease,” John Jay captain Mike Daniello said. “But these are things that we can all easily fix over time. It's nothing we are really worried about.”
Injuries, however, are a cause for concern. The Indians were without Colgate-bound midfielder Forrest Walter, starting close defenseman Alex Bennett and starting midfielder Jimmy Morris. All missed the game due to a litany of injuries. Even Daniello was questionable to play after sitting out most of the preseason with a tweaked hamstring.
“That was the first time this whole season I played at full speed,” Daniello said. “But I felt good out there. I was comfortable. I rested and got myself better.”
Despite the outcome, John Jay has no reason to panic. After all, it has always been about a potential rematch in late May.
“It's a huge statement that we just beat them,” Schuldt said. “They are a great team and we look forward to playing them later on in the postseason.”
Keys to the Game
1. Huskers win faceoff battle: Yorktown's duo of Ty Schuldt and Hunter Palancia came up huge at the draw, winning 65 percent (15-of-23) of the faceoffs.
2. Everyman Huskers: Seven different Yorktown players scored goals, proving just how potent a finely tuned, unselfish offense can be.
3. John Jay injury blues: It would be unfair to simply overlook all of John Jay's injuries, which clearly hindered the Indians' cohesiveness as a team. A potential rematch against Yorktown will be much more interesting if John Jay has a full deck of cards.
4. Saliano starts and stars: Yorktown goalie Matt Saliano beat out out sophomore Zach Reilly in a preseason competition for the starting role. Saliano rewarded his coaches with a fearless effort, making a handful of his 12 saves right on the doorstep.
JJ (9:25) Mike Daniello unassisted | 1-0 JJ
YT (8:02) Justin Mabus unassisted | 1-1
YT (7:30) Brian Quigley unassisted | 2-1 YT
YT (6:54) Nick Mariano from Ty Schuldt | 3-1 YT
JJ (3:00) Brendan Morris unassisted | 3-2 JJ
YT (2:18) Conor Gately unassisted | 4-2 YT
YT (1:09) Mariano unassisted | 5-2 YT
YT (3:28) Frankie Fusco | 6-2 YT
YT (11:18) Schuldt unassisted | 7-2 YT
JJ (9:38) Morris from Mike Lupinacci | 7-3 YT
JJ (6:50) Jake Weil from Lupinacci | 7-4 YT
YT (5:04) Quigley unassisted | 8-4 YT
YT (3:14) Schuldt from Gately | 9-4 YT
YT (11:08) Mabus unassisted | 10-4 YT
YT (7:18) Joe Saliano from Gately | 11-4 YT
YT (5:38) Gately from Mabus | 12-4 YT
JJ (5:27) Daniello unassisted | 12-5 YT
JJ (4:34) Weil from Dan LoBosco | 12-6 YT
JJ (0:26) Jack Lambert from Doug Brown | 12-7 YT