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Town over Wilton for Turnbull Cup

Varsity vs Wilton HS on 5/13/2014 7:00:00 PM
Posted Wednesday, May 14, 2014 by MSG Varsity
 * Follow Section 1 boys lacrosse on Twitter @MSGV_Icass *

Yorktown's Luke Palmadesso knew that Tuesday's regular season finale against Wilton marked one of the last games he would ever play on Charlie Murphy Field.

And the Villanova-bound All-American made it count.

Palmadesso totaled four goals and two assists to lift the Huskers to a 13-6 win over Wilton in the 29th Turnbull Cup. He also went 14 of 19 on faceoffs to dominate the possession battle.

"It was senior night and obviously this night means a lot to me," said Palmadesso, who ripped three straight fourth-quarter goals to boost Yorktown's lead to 12-4. "It was one of my last games on the Murph turf, so I tried to play as hard as I could. It wound up that I found the back of the net." 

Standout attackman Connor Vercruysse also chipped in with a pair of goals for the Huskers (11-5). Nick Del Bene, Justin Cavallo and Nick Bonitatibus each added a goal and an assist. Goalie Austin Graham stopped nine shots between the pipes to spearhead a strong defensive effort.

Charlie McGovern led the Warriors (5-9) with two goals, while teammate Brendan Devane dished out three assists. Goalie Michael Lynch impressed with 17 saves.

The senior night victory resonated a bit more with Yorktown defenseman Austin Fusco, a four-year varsity starter who will continue his career at Syracuse next season.

"It was very emotional," Fusco said. "With my brother (Frank) going through, I remember my him crying his last night with my mom. I remember thinking that I can't imagine that's going to be me one day. There's so much love for the program and the guys here. It's very emotional."

Yorktown channeled the emotion into an inspiring performance. The Huskers jumped out to a 5-3 first-quarter lead that grew to 9-3 at the half.

"The guys realized what we have to do to win, and that starts with the ground balls, the intensity and hustle," Fusco said.

According to Fusco, those ingredients were missing during a difficult stretch in May. Yorktown was 1-3 in its previous four games, losing to nationally-ranked powerhouses Ridgefield, Darien and St. Anthony's.

"Even though we were losing to some of the best teams in the country, we expect ourselves to be able to compete at that level," Fusco said. "Personally, I didn't think we were playing hard enough or passionate enough to win those games."

The stiff competition was nothing new for the Huskers, however, they hadn't suffered back-to-back losses in roughly two years. It was all a little jarring.

"We had a couple losses there in a row — which we aren't accustomed to — so it was huge for us to get a big win here going into the playoffs," Palmadesso said. "We are feeling good."

Yorktown — which earned the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Section 1 Class B playoffs — is chasing its fourth straight sectional crown and 37th overall.

Unlike years past, the Huskers will get a stiff challenge right off the bat. They are slated to host the winner of No. 8 John Jay-CR and No. 9 Rye in Thursday's quarterfinal round.

The Garnets have been one of Section 1's hottest teams of late, while the Indians are a perennial championship contender.

"We aren't going to argue about how the seedings went," Palmadesso said. "Whoever we are playing, we are going to be focused. We know our goals and we are going to go out and take care of it."

No. 2-seeded Somers is on the other side of the bracket and will likely get another crack at Yorktown in the final. The Tuskers ended the regular season on a six-game winning streak and appear to be a different team than the one that lost by eight goals to the Huskers on April 10.

Just don't expect the Huskers to get caught off-guard.

"Teams are hunting for us every year," Fusco said. "There's always pressure and always that thought in your mind that if you lose, you go home. But that just drives us even more. You have that thought in your mind and you don't want to be a team at Yorktown to lose a section title. We definitely don't want it to happen this year and we are going to do everything in our power not to let it happen."

GAME NOTES: Yorktown improved to 18-11 in the Turnbull Cup … The game was created in honor of Jim Turnbull, who was Yorktown's first-ever coach.

Wilton       3 0 0 3 6
Yorktown 5 4 0 4 13

First quarter
WI (10:43) Charlie McGovern from Harrison Bardwell | 1-0 WI
YT (9:07) Nick Bonitatibus unassisted | 1-1
YT (8:33) Ryan Baker from Bonitatibus | 2-1 YT
WI (7:09) Luke Rizzo from Jack Dexter | 2-2
YT (6:42) Billy Strassman unassisted | 3-2 YT
YT (0:59) Mike Dedvukaj unassisted | 4-2 YT
YT (0:51) Luke Palmadesso unassisted | 5-2 YT
WI (0:36) Christian Hansson from Brendan Devane | 5-3 YT
Second quarter
YT (11:48) Connor Vercruysse from Palmadesso | 6-3 YT
YT (11:29) Vercruysse from Palmadesso | 7-3 YT *
YT (8:36) Nick Del Bene unassisted | 8-3 YT
YT (7:36) Justin Cavallo from Del Bene | 9-3 YT
Fourth quarter
WI (10:58) Max Maudsley from Devane | 9-4 YT
YT (10:49) Palmadesso unassisted | 10-4 YT
YT (9:59) Palmadesso from Kris Alvarado | 11-4 YT
YT (8:08) Palmadesso unassisted | 12-4 YT
WI (7:54) McGovern unassisted | 12-5 YT
WI (7:21) Bardwell from Devane | 12-6 YT
YT (1:54) Greg Esposito from Cavallo | 13-6 YT
* Indicates man-up goal

Wilton: Brendan Devane (3A); Charlie McGovern (2G); Harrison Bardwell (1G, 1A); Christian Hansson (1G); Max Maudsley (1G); Luke Rizzo (1G); Jack Dexter (1A)
Yorktown: Luke Palmadesso (4G, 2A); Connor Vercruysse (2G); Nick Del Bene (1G, 1A); Justin Cavallo (1G, 1A); Nick Bonitatibus (1G, 1A); Billy Strassman (1G); Michael Dedvukaj (1G); Greg Esposito (1G); Ryan Baker (1G); Kris Alvarado (1A)

Wilton: Michael Lynch (17 saves)
Yorktown: Austin Graham (9 saves)

Email Isaac Cass at Icass@cablevision.com | Follow him on Twitter @MSGV_Icass  

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