WEST NYACK — All season long, Yorktown has quietly fixated on Garden City.
Everything in between last year’s NYSPHSAA semifinal loss to the Long Island power and the upcoming rematch was a dress rehearsal. The ’Huskers earned another go-round with a lopsided 18-7 win over Queensbury Saturday in a Class B regional championship.
The undefeated Trojans are officially the next game on the schedule.
“We’ve never forgotten about it,” Yorktown midfielder Frank Fusco said of the 10-8 loss to Garden City that sent the Cornhuskers home last May. “It’s the No. 1 thing on everyone’s mind. You walk away with a pit in your stomach, and now we have a chance to get that one back.”
The semifinal will be 8 p.m. Wednesday at Hofstra University.
Yorktown (16-4) wasn’t exactly sharp in the opening minutes against the Section 2 champions, but the offense kicked in when Austin Fusco ran down a ground ball near midfield and pushed. He fed Brian Prestreau, who spotted Connor Vercruysse for an easy goal.
Three minutes later, the ’Huskers were up 5-0.
“You always have to keep your head up,” said Prestreau, who totaled four goals and one assist before sitting down at halftime. “Our attackmen are all great feeders. Our middies are all great feeders. Those guys will put the ball on your stick any time, so you have to pay attention.”
Goals were coming from every angle. Vercruysse struck again just 22 seconds after his first goal. Conor Gately rolled inside the defense and kept the run going. Luke Palmadesso kept the pressure on with a rip down the alley. Prestreau took a nice feed from Nick Mariano and made it a five-goal cushion.
There was more where that came from.
Brian Quigley picked up a rebound and threw it past an overworked Spartans goalie, then Prestreau took a step or two after gathering in a Fusco pass and got Yorktown in front 7-0 late in the first quarter. Nobody let up in the second quarter, and the Cornhuskers had a 15-2 lead at the break.
“We obviously don’t take anyone lightly, and it’s the state playoffs so we have to play perfect all the time,” said Yorktown close defenseman Eric Cooley. “It all leads up to Wednesday, and I think we are ready.”
Queensbury (15-3) has never beaten a Section 1 playoff opponent in four attempts.
Most of the Yorktown regulars were on the bench watching the second half. Starting midfielder Joey Raniolo was out with a shoulder injury, but his teammates filled in nicely. Prestreau, Fusco, Quigley, Palmadesso and Danny Manning accounted for seven goals and four assists before taking a seat. “We all wanted another game for him,” Prestreau said.
And the fact that it’s a head-to-head with the No. 1 team in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse national rankings with a berth in the state championship game on the line is all the motivation the Cornhuskers need to get through a couple more practices.
“To be honest, we did look a little bit ahead to Garden City,” Cooley said. “We took our season one game at a time, but now we’re here, so all we have to do is go out and play.”