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NYS CLASS B BOYS LAX SEMIFINALS
Matchup: Yorktown (Section 1) vs. Garden City (Section 8)
Venue: Hofstra University
Date/time: June 6, 8 p.m.
What's next: NYS finals on June 9 at Middletown's Faller Field, 4 p.m.
Where to watch: The game will be streamed LIVE on MSGVarsity.com and rebroadcasted June 10 on MSG Varsity iO ch 14 at 4 p.m.
* No. 14 in the latest MSG Varsity Tri-State Lacrosse Top 20
* No. 22 in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse Top 25 High School Power
* Best win: 11-9 over Darien (CT) on 4/24
* Total number of state titles: Six ('03, '93, '92, '91, '89, '84)
Garden City (20-0)
* No. 1 in the latest MSG Varsity Tri-State Lacrosse Top 20
* No. 1 in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse Top 25 High School Power
* Best win: 12-11 over Conestoga (PA) on 4/14
* Total number of state titles: Four ('00, '97, '94, '86)
Goals a game average: Garden City (13.7) | Yorktown (13.10)
Goals against average: Garden City (4.85) | Yorktown (8.3)
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH ON YORKTOWN
* Conor Gately (Sr., A) — Yorktown's potent offense all starts with the Marquette-bound senior. Gately, who was recently named an All-American, has recorded a team-high 114 points (35G, 79A) in 2012.
* Frankie Fusco (Sr., MF) — Drexel-bound All-American is the Huskers' most dangerous weapon from up top. He is tied with junior attackman Nick Mariano for the team lead in goals with 48.
* Trevor Koelsch (Jr., D) — Hopkins-bound junior is Yorktown's top shutdown defenseman, which means he will likely be charged with the unenviable task of limiting Garden City star Devin Dwyer.
* Danny Manning (Jr., MF) — St. Joseph's-bound FOGO has gone 43 of 60 (63.4 percent) at the draw in four playoff games. If the Huskers are to have a chance against the Trojans, Manning will have to own the dot.
* Nick Mariano (Jr., A) — UMass-bound junior has turned it on when its mattered most, averaging 3.5 goals a game in the playoffs.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH ON GARDEN CITY
* Patric Berkery (Sr., MF) — UPenn-bound senior combines power and speed to create opportunities in transition and settled situations. Berkery is Garden City's top scoring middie with 33 points (22G, 11A).
* Eugene Berkery (Sr., D) — Middlebury-bound captain spearheads a stellar defensive unit that lost three stars to graduation.
* Devin Dwyer (Sr., A) — Harvard-bound attackman makes the Trojans' offense go, racking up a team-high 100 points on 34 goals and 64 assists this season.
* Justin Guterding (Jr., A) — Duke-bound talent has really come into his own this year, racking up the second most points (46 goals and 40 assists) on the team.
* Dan Marino (Sr., G) — UVA-bound stopper has made a total of 117 saves in 2012 and is one of the best goalies in the nation.
Yorktown and Garden City have squared off a total of eight times in the NYS playoffs, with each winning four of them. The Trojans bested the Huskers, 10-8, in last year's NYS Class B state semifinal. Yorktown coach Dave Marr was an All-American attackman on the 1990 and '91 squads that pulled off back-to-back state semifinal wins over Garden City.
Here's a look at the entire state playoff history between the two Tri-State powers:
1985: Garden City 11, Yorktown 10
1986: Garden City 7, Yorktown 4
1987: Yorktown 9, Garden City 8
1990: Yorktown 7, Garden City 6
1991: Yorktown 12, Garden City 7
1993: Yorktown 8, Garden City 5
1994: Garden City 16, Yorktown 9
2011: Garden City 10, Yorktown 8
Overall: Yorktown 4, Garden City 4
THE SKINNY ON YORKTOWN
When a team is looking to pull off a mammoth upset, the game plan is usually simple: grab an early lead, slow the game down to a crawl and hold on for dear life.
In Yorktown's case, I don't think this is the best strategy. Armed with one of the most dangerous offenses in program history, the Huskers need to play to their strengths and let it rip. This is how they have won games all season. Why change now? Basically, it wouldn't make much sense to put this one on the defense and goalie by playing a conservative game.
Of course, to make it a reality Yorktown needs a dominant effort out of FOGO Danny Manning. He's the key when it comes to kick-starting the transition offense and holding an overall edge in possession.
The Fusco brothers — senior middie Frank and sophomore LSM middie Austin — will be paramount in winning the ground ball battle, which is an absolute must. The Huskers simply cannot afford to lose out when it comes to the hustle stats.
Garden City will be well prepared for Gately, who torched its defense in last year's state semifinal. If the Trojans concentrate on shutting off Yorktown's top playmaker, look for Nick Mariano to have a big game. When the UMass-bound attackman is in a groove with his shooting, there isn't a goalie in the country who stands a chance. Mariano has been extra deadly in the Huskers' four playoff games, leading the offense with 14 goals and seven assists. Also, he isn't one to shy away from the big stage. On a loaded Yorktown team, Mariano just might be the most deadly assassin.
Lastly, look for Brian Prestreau to get some more runs at the cage. Like Mariano, the junior middie has played his best lax down the stretch, totaling 10 of his 27 total goals in four playoff games. The 6-1, 170-pound Prestreau can fly in transition and dodge from up top. He's undoubtedly Yorktown's biggest X-factor.
THE SKINNY ON GARDEN CITY
Is this the best Garden City team in program history? On paper, it certainly looks that way.
Unlike last year's more defensive-minded team, the Trojans have some serious offensive firepower to blow the doors off the opposition. With UVA-bound goalie Dan Marino in the cage, the defense hasn't really skipped a beat.
Garden City's sheer volume of talented players was too much for Yorktown in last year's state semifinal. The Huskers wilted in the heat down the stretch as the Trojans outscored them 4-2 in the second half en route to a 10-8 win.
In terms of depth, Yorktown was already delivered a blow when workhorse middie Joey Raniolo suffered a shoulder injury in the Section 1 championship game against John Jay-CR.
The only real concern for Garden City would be looking too far ahead. After all, Section 3's Jamesville-DeWitt — which has knocked off the Trojans in back-to-back NYS Class B championship games — will be competing in the other semifinal against Section 5's Irondequoit.
Email Isaac Cass at Icass@cablevision.com | Follow him on Twitter @MSGV_Icass