* Follow Section 1 boys lax on Twitter @MSGV_Icass *
The Yorktown vs. John Jay-Cross River boys lacrosse rivalry has traditionally been a close one. Coming into this season, eight of the past 15 games between the two Section 1 powers were decided by less than two goals. Not to mention, last year's Class B final — which the Huskers won in overtime — was as tight as it gets.
But on Saturday evening at John Jay-CR High School, the Huskers' potent offense forcibly bucked the trend. Yorktown (2-0) put on a shooting clinic en route to a 12-4 win over the Indians (1-1).
"We worked a lot on shooting yesterday and Thursday," senior captain Nick Mariano said. "Today, we just came out and canned all of our shots and it was great."
It was in stark contrast to Yorktown's season-opening performance against Columbine (CO). The Huskers converted just eight of their 48 shots (16.6 percent) against the Rebels. Against John Jay, Yorktown hit net on 12 of 32 shots (37.5 percent) overall and went a ridiculous 8 of 17 in the first half alone.
Stony Brook-bound senior middie Brian Prestreau led the sharpshooting brigade with four goals and added an assist. Teammates Connor Vercruysse (3G), Mariano (2G, 2A), Nick Bonitatibus (1G, 1A), Danny Manning (1G), Luke Palmadesso (1G), Billy Strassman (1A) and Nick Del Bene (1A) rounded out the offensive production.
Andrew Duffy and Shawn Smith paced John Jay with two goals apiece. Frazier Bostwick added an assist and goalie Rob Looney stopped six shots.
The Indians actually led 2-1 with a little over four minutes left in the first quarter, however, Yorktown took over from there. The Huskers strung together a 6-0 run to grab a commanding 7-2 lead with 5:59 left in the second quarter.
"It's a game of runs," said Mariano, who scored both his goals in the first quarter to give the Huskers an early 4-2 lead. "We came out and they scored first and we had a bad first quarter — kind of. We stepped it up after that."
With Yorktown faceoff men Danny Manning and Luke Palmadesso dominating the dot, John Jay could do little to stop the bleeding. The duo won 12 of 16 faceoffs and is 25 of 33 on the year.
"I don't think we won any of the draws," Indians coach Tim Schurr said. "We won a couple faceoffs through infractions or maybe a loose ball here or there, but they really pretty much won every draw."
Yorktown kept pouring it on in the third quarter, outscoring John Jay 3-1 to stretch its lead to 11-4 heading into the fourth.
The Huskers' offense ran with astonishing efficiency. Turnovers were minimal and movement was constant. It's worth noting, of course, that John Jay didn't do the best job of disrupting Yorktown's flow. The Huskers seemingly got to comfortable spots on the field at will.
"I think we got away from some of the things we have been practicing, which is really supporting the guys who get dodged on," Schurr said. "We had been doing better in practice but for some reason we didn't slide very well, so that gave (Yorktown) a lot of close shots and they're good and are going to score those."
Schurr, who has employed a stifling zone defense in the past, played mainly man-to-man against the Huskers. The Indians switched to a zone look about midway through the fourth quarter.
"It's early in the year and we've been toying with both, but we haven't been playing quite so well in practice with our zone," Schurr said. "We would rather do one thing well than just two things so-so."
Yorktown's defense, meanwhile, turned in another stellar performance. The four goals allowed marked the fewest in the rivalry since 2004. Second-year starter Austin Graham (14 saves) was calm, cool and collected in net. Close defensemen Jack Phelan, Trevor Koelsch and Austin Fusco were razor sharp, completely shutting out John Jay's attack. Short-stick middie Eric Meyreles and long-stick middie Tomas Rodriguez also stood out. Collectively, the Huskers' defense didn't budge an inch, blanking the Indians over the final 17 minutes and 39 seconds of regulation.
"We were able to really click — especially toward the end there," Koelsch said. "Team defense and communication was up. Austin did a good job in goal and we were able to dominate the one-on-one matchups. That really helped us."
Yorktown has now won five straight in the rivalry and seven of the past eight. The eight-goal margin of victory was the largest since 2011, when the Huskers topped the Indians 14-5 in the sectional finals.
"We thought of this as a statement for the rest of the season," Koelsch said. "You want to start the season strong and send a statement to the rest of the section."
GAME NOTES: Yorktown is 13-6 against John Jay dating back to 1999 … Connor Vercruysse has scored a team-high seven goals through two games … Brian Prestreau matched a career-high with four goals … John Jay — which relinquished 6.7 goals a game last season — has given up a combined 24 goals in its first two games of 2013.
Yorktown 4 4 3 1 12
John Jay 2 1 1 0 4
JJ (9:35) Andrew Duffy unassisted | 1-0 JJ
YT (5:55) Brian Prestreau unassisted | 1-1
JJ (4:02) Shawn Smith from Frazier Bostwick | 2-1 JJ
YT (2:47) Nick Mariano unassisted | 2-2
YT (1:39) Connor Vercruysse from Nick Bonitatibus | 3-2 YT
YT (0:09) Mariano unassisted | 4-2 YT *
YT (10:22) Luke Palmadesso from Prestreau | 5-2 YT
YT (9:19) Vercruysse unassisted | 6-2 YT
YT (5:59) Prestreau unassisted | 7-2 YT
JJ (5:03) Smith unassisted | 7-3 YT
YT (0:50) Bonitatibus from Nick Del Bene | 8-3 YT
YT (10:14) Prestreau from Mariano | 9-3 YT *
JJ (5:39) Duffy unassisted | 9-4 YT
YT (3:24) Prestreau unassisted | 10-4 YT
YT (2:35) Danny Manning from Billy Strassman | 11-4 YT
YT (9:28) Vercruysse from Mariano | 12-4 YT
* Indicates manup goal
Yorktown: Brian Prestreau (4G, 1A); Connor Vercruysse (3G); Nick Mariano (2G, 2A); Nick Bonitatibus (1G, 1A); Danny Manning (1G); Luke Palmadesso (1G); Billy Strassman (1A); Nick Del Bene (1A)
John Jay: Andrew Duffy (2G); Shawn Smith (2G); Frazier Bostwick (1A)
Yorktown: Austin Graham (14 saves)
John Jay: Rob Looney (6 saves)