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State Champs 2014

Posted Monday, June 09, 2014 by MSG Varsity
 It was midway through the season that Yorktown's boys lacrosse squad went through a slump, losing three of four games to the likes of Darien, St. Anthony's and Ridgefield.

Setbacks to nationally-ranked powerhouses normally wouldn't faze most teams, but it was in these moments that the Huskers proved they were no ordinary team.

"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," senior captain Austin Fusco said at the time. "Personally, I thought we weren't playing hard enough or passionate enough to win those games."

And so they did something about it.

"The captains called everyone out, including themselves," Fusco said. "We said that we had a shot to do it this year, stop the screwing around, let's get down to business and let's make sure we get the job done."

Consider it done.

Yorktown regrouped and went on a memorable playoff run to capture its first state title since 2003, defeating Section 3's Jamesville-DeWitt, 10-9, in Saturday's thrilling Class B final at Hofstra.

The Huskers, who now own seven state championships in program history, also downed J-D in the '03 state final — but the similarities between the two teams don't end there. Like in '03, this year's group wasn't dubbed as world-beaters, but they rose above the expectations just the same.

"This team was really special and really close on and off the field," Villanova-bound All-American Luke Palmadesso said. "It made it so much more fun. It's a really special group of guys and I'm going to miss playing with them, but I wouldn't want to go out any other way than with a state championship."

Palmadesso cements legacy as one of Yorktown's best

It's fair to say that Yorktown doesn't sniff a state title without Luke Palmadesso. The Villanova-bound senior was that vital to the Huskers.

Palmadesso, a two-time All-American, was at his blue-collar best against Jamesville-DeWitt, winning 19 of 23 faceoffs, scooping up 14 ground balls and scoring a goal. It was basically a repeat of his performance against Lynbrook in the state semis.

Palmadesso went 245 of 321 at the dot overall this season and finished second on the team in points with 34 goals and 29 assists. In an era of specialization, Yorktown's No. 11 was a window into the past; to a time time when FOGOs didn't exist. We might never see a player with Palmadesso's versatility ever again.

"You can't say enough about the kid," coach Dave Marr said. "Winning this championship solidifies him as being one of our best players ever. In terms of high school, he belongs up there with the big names."

Yorktown fans, alumni come out in droves

The announced attendance at Saturday's NYS Class B final between Yorktown and Jamesville-DeWitt was 1,800. Needless to say, about 1,700 of those fans hailed from 10598.

Yorktown's massive cheering section was headlined by The Crop — composed of wildly enthusiastic students — and dotted with countless former players.

Such support was nothing new for the Huskers.

"The whole town was behind us today," Palmadesso said. "Every year the Yorktown community is just unbelievable with how much they care about the lacrosse program. They wanted this just as much as us. We were talking to alumni, kids we've played with and kids that played 20 years before us guys. They were just telling us that they were really pulling for us and really rooting for us. It's great to win it for them and for us."

The family atmosphere shined bright in the stands at James M. Shuart Stadium.

"This isn't just about us," said senior attackman Nick Bonitatibus, who had three older brothers come through the program. "It's about alumni and everything. They are the guys who came and taught us at our clinics and they are part of this, too."

Fusco's coast-to-coast goal the difference

Austin Fusco's coast-to-coast goal with 5:20 left in regulation was the biggest play of Yorktown's entire season. The Syracuse-bound defenseman came up with a loose ball in a man-down situation and motored the length of the field before unloading a high bounce shot just beneath the bar.

It extended the Huskers' lead to 10-8 over J-D and shifted the momentum squarely in their favor.

"I picked up the ball and knew we had to get it down to the offensive end somehow," Fusco said, detailing the play. "I saw an out and tried to use my wheels to get up field. I was looking to give it to Connor, but I just saw his guy shut him off. I knew I had some pressure on my back. I just kept running, no one picked me up and I just pulled it."

Palmadesso summed it up best: "Big time players make big time plays."

Yorktown state titles by year

2014: Yorktown 10, Jamesville-DeWitt 9
2003: Yorktown 10, Jamesville-DeWitt 6
1991: Yorktown 12, Syracuse Nottingham 3
1992: Yorktown 10, Corning East 5
1993: Yorktown 9, Irondequoit 6
1989: Yorktown 8, Corning East 7
1984: Yorktown 6, West Genesee 5 

State championship game box score/stats

Jamesville-DeWitt 0 4 2 3 9
Yorktown             4 1 3 2 10

First quarter
YT (8:47) Nick Del Bene from Connor Vercruysse | 1-0 YT
YT (8:41) Luke Palmadesso unassisted | 2-0 YT
YT (1:55) Nick Bonitatibus unassisted | 3-0 YT
YT (0:04) Matt Gonzales from Bonitatibus | 4-0 YT
Second quarter
JD (9:12) Grayson Burns from Griffin Johnson | 4-1 YT
JD (7:41) Ryan McKee unassisted | 4-2 YT
JD (6:49) McKee unassisted | 4-3 YT
JD (6:10) Burns from Ryan Durkin | 4-4 YT
YT (3:59) Vercruysse from Billy Strassman | 5-4 YT
Third quarter
JD (10:44) Burns from Johnson | 5-5
YT (10:10) Kris Alvarado unassisted | 6-5 YT
YT (2:59) Vercruysse unassisted | 7-5 YT
YT (2:31) Bonitatibus unassisted | 8-5 YT
JD (1:17) Anthony DiGiovanni from Johnson | 8-6 YT
Fourth quarter
YT (11:18) Del Bene from Bonitatibus | 9-6 YT
JD (9:04) Burns from Griffin Feiner | 9-7 YT
JD (7:23) DiGiovanni from Johnson | 9-8 YT
YT (5:20) Austin Fusco unassisted | 10-8 YT
JD (0:48) Feiner from Brad Carr | 10-9 YT

Yorktown: Nick Bonitatibus (2G, 2A); Connor Vercruysse (2G, 1A); Nick Del Bene (2G); Kris Alvarado (1G); Luke Palmadesso (1G); Austin Fusco (1G); Matt Gonzales (1G); Billy Strassman (1A)
Jamesville-DeWitt: Grayson Burns (4G); Griffin Johnson (4A); Ryan McKee (2G); Anthony DiGiovanni (2G); Griffin Feiner (1G, 1A); Brad Carr (1A); Ryan Durkin (1A)

Yorktown: Austin Graham (9 saves)
Jamesville-DeWitt: Joe Morgan (10 saves)

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


- See more at: http://www.msgvarsity.com/hudson-valley/yorktown-overcomes-the-odds-to-win-state-title-1.1618540#sthash.g5veKa1E.dpuf

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