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For the 21st time in the past 24 years, the Murphy Cup will reside in Yorktown. The host Huskers (12-1) downed crosstown rival Lakeland/Panas, 14-2, in the annual rivalry game on Saturday at Charlie Murphy Field.
It matched the largest margin of victory in the all-time series, which dates back to 1990. Yorktown also defeated Lakeland/Panas by a dozen goals in 2001. The previous six meetings had been decided by an average margin of 2.66 goals a game. The Rebels last won in 2010.
Despite the uncharacteristic gap on the scoreboard, the Murphy Cup still meant as much as ever to the Huskers.
"It's always a big game — the biggest game of the year for us," junior attackman Connor Vercruysse said. "The Murph Cup is always huge. It means everything to us. We play for everyone in Yorktown now and everyone that has played before us."
The game was named after Charlie Murphy, who wrote a $500 check to start Yorktown's program back in 1965. Dozens of All-Americans honed their craft in Murphy's expansive backyard, which was always equipped with a lacrosse net.
"It's always special," junior captain Austin Fusco said. "Coming from Yorktown, Mr. Murph means everything to us."
Unlike previous years, the competitive balance was a little off between the two teams. The Rebels — with only one senior on their 31-man roster — have struggled this season. The Huskers, meanwhile, have garnered national attention with a host of impressive wins over Tri-State powers. Still, it has always been understood that records get thrown out the window when it comes to the Murph Cup.
"(Lakeland/Panas) was going to come to play no matter what," Fusco said. "We knew that it was going to be a dogfight to start out, so it was nothing that we didn't expect."
The spirited Rebels didn't disappoint early on, as they stood toe-to-toe with Yorktown for much of the opening quarter. The two teams were tied at 1-1 with roughly two minutes left in the first, however, Yorktown assumed its dominance shortly thereafter. Mariano's tally at the 1:20 mark sparked a nine-goal run that put the game on ice.
"We came out with some good energy and then died down as it got deeper into the game," said L/P goalie Michael Zingaro, who finished with 12 saves and stood on his head early to keep it close.
Needless to say, no one has been able to slow down Yorktown's offense this year. The Huskers are averaging a Section 1-best 13.92 goals a game and feature some of the most dangerous shooters around. One of them is Stony Brook-bound senior middie Brian Prestreau, who led the way with a game-high seven points on five goals and two assists. Attackmen Nick Mariano (2G, 4A) and Connor Vercruysse (3G) also had big games. Nick Del Bene, Danny Manning, D.J. Peters and Mike Puchalski added one goal apiece.
"They are a good shooting team and everybody can shoot the ball," Zingaro said. "It's rough but it happens."
Brothers Brian and Kevin Prunty each scored for Lakeland/Panas (3-10). Jim Flaherty and Tom Maietto had one assist apiece.
Yorktown's defense was equally impressive, completely shutting out the Rebels' six-on-six offense. The two goals against marked the lowest total in the history of the rivalry. Close defensemen Fusco, Trevor Koelsch and Jack Phelan were suffocating, while long-stick middie Tomas Rodriguez and short-stick middies Eric Meyreles and Kristopher Alvarado were omnipresent. Goalies Austin Graham and Zach Reilly combined for nine saves.
"Our defense is phenomenal this year," Prestreau said. "Without them our offense wouldn't have as many possessions as we do, and that's what helps us win games."
GAME NOTES: Yorktown's Luke Palmadesso and Danny Manning combined to win 16-of-20 faceoffs … Yorktown outshot Lakeland/Panas 48-18 … Yorktown won the ground ball battle 20-15.
Lakeland/Panas 1 0 1 0 2
Yorktown 3 5 4 2 14
YT (4:25) Brian Prestreau from Nick Mariano | 1-0 YT
LP (1:59) Brian Prunty unassisted | 1-1
YT (1:20) Mariano unassisted | 2-1 YT
YT (0:32) Nick Del Bene | 3-1 YT
YT (11:20) Prestreau from Mariano | 4-1 YT
YT (10:40) Danny Manning | 5-1 YT
YT (8:46) Prestreau unassisted | 6-1 YT
YT (4:12) Connor Vercruysse from Billy Strassman | | 7-1 YT
YT (0:19) Mariano unassisted | 8-1 YT
YT (11:22) Prestreau unassisted | 9-1 YT
YT (8:38) Vercruysse from from Prestreau | 10-1 YT
LP (4:38) Kevin Prunty from Tom Maietto | 10-2 YT
YT (4:29) Prestreau unassisted | 11-2 YT
YT (1:18) Vercruysse from Prestreau | 12-2 YT
YT (7:26) D.J. Peters from Matt Gonzalez | 13-2 YT
YT (0:53) Mike Puchalski unassisted | 14-2 YT
Lakeland/Panas: Brian Prunty (1G); Kevin Prunty (1G); Jim Flaherty (1A); Tom Maietto (1A)
Yorktown: Brian Prestreau (5G, 2A); Nick Mariano (2G, 4A); Connor Vercruysse (3G); Nick Del Bene (1G); Danny Manning (1G); D.J. Peters (1G); Luke Palmadesso (1G); Billy Strassman (1A); Mike Puchalski (1G); Matt Gonzales (1A)
Lakeland/Panas: Mike Zingaro (12 saves)
Yorktown: Austin Graham (5 saves); Zach Reilly (4 saves)
All-time Murphy Cup results
1990: 7-6 Yorktown
1991: 9-8 Yorktown
1992: 9-3 Yorktown
1993: 12-9 Yorktown
1994: 10-6 Lakeland/Panas
1995: 9-5 Yorktown
1996: 14-6 Yorktown
1997: 6-5 Yorktown
1998: 10-9 Yorktown
1999: 5-4 Yorktown
2000: 10-3 Yorktown
2001: 16-4 Yorktown
2002: 11-3 Yorktown
2003: 16-11 Yorktown
2004: 9-3 Yorktown
2005: 12-9 Yorktown
2006: 18-9 Yorktown
2007: 10-9 Lakeland/Panas
2008: 10-9 Yorktown
2009: 11-8 Yorktown
2010: 10-7 Lakeland/Panas
2011: 11-7 Yorktown
2012: 14-10 Yorktown
2013: 14-2 Yorktown
Overall: Yorktown 21, Lakeland/Panas 3