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Billy Strassman has been known strictly as a midfielder in his three seasons on Yorktown’s boys lacrosse team.
But that all changed in Thursday’s Section 1 Class B final against John Jay-Cross River at White Plains High School.
Strassman went into attack-mode in the second half to awaken Yorktown’s stagnant offense. He tallied all four of his goals over the final two quarters of action, leading the No. 1-seeded Huskers (15-4) to a hard-fought 11-9 win over the No. 7-seeded Indians (12-8). Yorktown will take on the winner of Section 2-Section 9 in the regional final on May 30 at Lakeland High School.
“We put Strassman down on attack and he gave us a little spark,” Yorktown coach Dave Marr said. “He is good against the short-stick and gave us a couple goals, a nice assist and some life.”
Marr credited the idea to assistant coaches Rob Doerr and Joe Colarusso. It didn’t take long for the adjustment to pay off.
Strassman snapped a 3-3 tie with 8:07 left in the third quarter, using his speed to dodge from X and finish. The impressive solo effort triggered a 6-1 Yorktown surge. Strassman scored three of his goals during the stretch, capping it off at the 2:12 mark to give the Huskers a commanding 9-4 lead.
“It was fun, but I’m mostly focused on the win,” said Strassman, who earned offensive MVP honors after the career performance. “That’s all that matters to us.”
And no one in Section 1 knows more about winning than Yorktown, which secured its fifth straight sectional crown and 38th in program history. No one else is even with ear shot.
“We never think about losing this and always want to bring it back to Yorktown,” said sophomore attackman Justin Cavallo, who totaled three goals and two assists. “We just love it.”
John Jay-Cross River — which was back in the final after a rare absence in 2014 — left it all on the turf. Trailing 10-5 midway through the fourth quarter, the Indians reeled off four straight goals to make it a one-goal game with under a minute left in regulation.
Midfielder Danny Skluth powered the run with a pair of goals, desperately trying to keep his senior season alive. Hunter Keech added a goal and Vince Foti went airborne for another. Suddenly, the Indians were in position to win their first sectional title since 2010.
“We knew we couldn’t give up,” said Keech, who notched a team-high three goals and one assist. “We knew were just as good as these kids if we kept going and stuck to the game plan.”
Yorktown’s Jose Boyer ended the comeback bid, winning the faceoff following Foti’s goal to ice it. Strassman put the cherry on top with a late empty-net goal.
Mike Dedvukaj rounded out the Huskers’ offensive production with a pair of goals and Logan Peters doled out four assists. Liam Donnelly turned in another stellar performance between the pipes with 10 saves and triggered the transition game with pinpoint outlet passes. Junior long-stick middie Tyler Makar was omnipresent between the boxes, scooping up a team-high eight ground balls.
Senior attackman Ryan Lee bagged a pair of goals for John Jay-CR, while Matt Lupinacci had one goal and two assists. Skluth won 13 of 22 faceoffs. Freshman goalie Shahe Katchadurian made 10 saves to earn defensive MVP honors.
Looking ahead, Yorktown is now three wins away from capturing its second straight state title and eighth overall. And you can bet that’s what they are aiming for.
“We want to finish our goal of repeating from last year,” Cavallo said.
GAME NOTES: The Huskers improved to 5-1 in six sectional championship games against John Jay-CR since 2004 … Yorktown won all three of its games against John Jay-CR this season.
- See more at: http://www.msgvarsity.com/strassman-sparks-yorktown-to-class-b-title-1.1712490#sthash.mG4xvyHK.dpuf
John Jay-CR 2 0 3 4 9
Yorktown 2 1 6 2 11