YORKTOWN, N.Y.— Seventh-seeded Lakeland/Panas’ boys lacrosse squad traveled to No. 3 Mahopac on May 24 for a Section 1 Class A semifinal with the Rebels coming up with a sweet 9-7 triumph.
“It means a lot to be able to move on and advance,” Lakeland/Panas senior captain Joe Janavey said. “This group doesn’t want to lose and the mantra is earn another day together, earn another game.”
The Rebels went on a 5-0 run in the second half, giving them a 9-5 lead, ignited in large part by T.J. Bryan (1G), who won 15 of 17 face-offs overall.
“Our defense made stops, we were able to push the ball in transition,” Janavey said. “We were able to finish and when T.J. gets hot it’s hard to stop him.”
Mahopac followed with two goals but the Rebels held the Indians scoreless for the last 6:50 of the contest.
“J.P. Walsh did a great job in the cage and the defense slipped into a zone and forced them to take low-percentage shots,” Janavey said.
Matt Hodges (3G, 2A), Janavey (3G. 1A), Regan Fallo (1G, 2A), Mason Nocito (1G), Sean Laukaitis (1A) and Walsh (20 saves) found their way into the box score.
The Rebels also won at No. 2 Scarsdale 10-9 in a quarterfinal contest on May 22, ignited by a goal from Walsh that cut the deficit to 7-4 early in the second half.
“J.P. Walsh’s goal really fired us up and got the guys going,” Hodges said. “After that we just fed off each other’s momentum and kept it rolling.”
The Rebels (8-10) eventually took an 8-7 lead on a goal by Steve Magarelli (3G).
“Steve Magarelli’s shot was huge for us,” Hodges said. “We were able to find Steve open for a step down shot from 10 yards out and he was able to put it in the back of the net. Once we were up we knew we couldn’t let them back in the game because they are a great team with a bunch of talent.”
Janavey (5A), Hodges (2G, 2A), Nocito (2G, 1A), Fallo (1G), Alex Davoli (1G) and Walsh (10 saves) produced against Scarsdale.
“Defensively, Tom Briscoe and Dylan Semenza were two players that did a great job of limiting Scarsdale’s offense and getting our team the ball back in crucial moments,” Hodges said.
No. 2 Yorktown outscored No. 6 Somers 11-2 in the second half to win its Class B semifinal game 17-4 on May 23.
“Credit coach (Sean) Carney for making some second-half adjustments offensively to break down their zone,” Yorktown senior captain Jamison Embury said, “but it was also just crisp ball movement and trusting each other on offense to move the ball well and get our shooters open.”
Yorktown’s defense is the heart and soul of the team and it’s the complete unit of guys working together that stands out when its plays well defensively like it did against Somers according to Embury.
“It’s great team defense that sets everyone up for success and of course having four captains on our defense, Brett Makar, Brandon Meyreles, Connor Koelsch, and Louis Ragusa, and playing as well as they do day in and day out points towards their leadership and commanding the defense,” Embury said. “I’d also like to point out our defensive midfield with Keith Boyer, Thomas Cane, and Christian Torres, who have been playing incredibly all year.”
Leading Yorktown (14-3) was Alex DeBenedictis (6G, 1A), followed by Jamison Embury (3G, 4A), Hunter Embury (4G, 2A), Justin Comerford (2G, 2A), Shane Dahlke (1G, 2A), Mike Broder (1G), Thomas Cane (1A), Timothy O’Callaghan (1A), Brendan Williams (20 of 24 face-offs won, 1A) and Louis Ragusa (6 saves).
“Alex has been huge for us down the stretch this year adding another dimension to our offense,” Jamison Embury said. “He’s an extremely talented finisher and can catch any ball you throw at him. On offense we always preach playing loose and having fun and Alex’s poise, IQ and strength were instrumental in allowing him to have the game he did and the great season that he’s been having.”