Yorktown senior Luke Palmadesso encountered arguably the biggest faceoff of his career with 48 seconds left in regulation and his team holding a one-goal lead over Jamesville-DeWitt. But the midfielder didn’t let the pressure get to him.
“I was just trying to get the ball for my team and go from there,” Palmadesso said. “I know if I won that, we put it in a really good spot to win the game.
Palmadesso won his 19th faceoff of the game and was the player to flip the ball in the air at the final whistle as Yorktown held on to defeat Jamesville-DeWitt, 10-9, to capture its first New York State boys lacrosse Class B title since 2003 on Saturday at Hofstra University.
Yorktown (18-5) won a state title by receiving a balanced offensive effort with Rutgers bound All-American Connor Vercruysse, Nicky Bonitatibus, and Nick Del Been each recording two goals, while four others played added to the scoring tally.
After years of almost misses, the Cornhuskers put everything together in beating Lynbrook on Wednesday, which was the first Long Island opponent the team has beat in six consecutive trips to the semifinals.
The Cornhuskers finished off a special day when Austin Fusco traveled the length of the field for the go-ahead goal and an important 10-8 lead for Yorktown with 5:20 left in regulation. Yorktown would celebrate a seventh overall state title in front of a large and boisterous group of supporters.
“We have been fighting for so long,” said senior defender Austin Fusco. “We got a good core group of seniors, and great juniors, sophomores, freshman who understood what needed to be done. They came to work every day.”
Yorktown, ranked No. 15 in the Tri State boys lacrosse top 20 poll, needed a team effort to fend off a Red Rams team appearing in the state title for the fourth time in five years.
The Cornhuskers got off to a fast start with Nick Del Bene scoring with 8:47 remaining in the first quarter and Matthew Gonzalez taking the feed from Bonitatibus with just 4 seconds left to take a 4-0 lead.
Jamesville De-Witt was not out of the woods yet when they exploded in the second quarter by winning a number of face-offs and crashing to the net. The Red Rams went on a four-goal rally when Grayson Burns (4 goals) evened the game at 4-all with 6:10 left in the period.
Yorktown responded by the end of the second quarter when Vercruysse spinned around the cage to fire a shot to put Yorktown up 5-4 with 3:59 left in the half.
“We went on a 4-0 run and they came and punched us in the face with their 4-0 run,” Bonitatibus said. “We stayed calm and kept putting goals back in the net
Kristopher Alvarado’s unassisted goal with 10:19 remaining in the third quarter started a three-goal run for the Cornhuskers to go up 8-5.
Jamesville De-Witt wasn’t done yet when Griffin Johnson fed Anthony Digiovanni for a ground ball goal with 7:23 left to cut the Cornhuskers lead to 9-8. The Red Rams got an excellent chance to tie the game as Gregory Esposito was called on a 30-second pushing penalty to put Yorktown down a man.
But when Yorktown needed a timely goal, Fusco came up big by using his long pole to swat the ball away from Red Rams attacker. Fusco then picked the ball up and kept rushing to the net to put the ball in the cage for an important two-goal advantage.
“I knew I had some pressure on my back so I kept running,” Fusco said. “No one picked me up and I just pulled it.”
Yorktown coach Dave Marr admired all season how senior leaders like Palmadesso, Fusco and others helped mold a younger group of players into a championship team. It wasn’t an easy ride by no means for Yorktown, but the trip was well worth it.
“We worked very hard. We haven’t been back here for 11 years. The kids worked really hard every year,” Marr said. “It’s a great feeling to have them accomplish it and have the work from last year, 365 days pay off with this kind of euphoria. Its nice.”
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