YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y.— The reigning Section 1 Class B champion was on the ropes as the halftime horn sounded on Saturday afternoon at Charlie Murphy Field.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Yorktown refused to tap out.
The Huskers (4-2) gathered their emotions, refocused and went on to pull off a stunning 11-10 comeback victory over visiting John Jay-Cross River (3-3), outscoring the Indians 6-0 over the final 17 minutes of action.
“To come back and show that we aren’t going to stop for anything—that was awesome for our team,” Yorktown senior captain Jose Boyer said. “It was the heart we showed there. I love those 34 guys and I wouldn’t want anyone else out there with me.”
Imposing senior midfielder Kyle Casey buried the game-winning goal with 2:22 left in regulation, using his 6-foot-4 frame to overpower a pair of John Jay-CR defensemen after dodging from X.
“(John Jay-CR defenseman Thor Adamec) is a very good defender and he was pushing me hard,” said Casey, who tallied all three of his goals during the second-half surge. “I had to just keep muscling my way in. When I rolled, I figured I was going to shoot no matter what. I ended up losing a hand on my stick, so I was able to finish it one-handed. That was pretty nice.”
First-year Yorktown coach Sean Carney expected as much from Casey, a three-year varsity player committed to Albany.
“There’s a lot of guys who have played here before and that’s your job,” Carney said. “At the end of the game, you have to trust yourself. They have done it so many times.
“At the half, I just told the team, ‘How many times have you played on this field? You have done it a million times in your life—do it with more confidence.’ I think we saw that in the fourth quarter, where they played really well.”
The Huskers outscored John Jay 4-0 in the decisive final quarter. Shane Dahlke converted out front to trim the deficit to 10-8 with 10:42 remaining. Casey made it 10-9 at the 7:36 mark, unleashing a vicious underhand crank from long range. Dahlke struck again off a pretty inside feed from Dom Cioffi with 3:51 left, setting the stage for Casey’s heroics.
“To finally get the momentum on our side and get ahead in the final two minutes of the game, it felt great,” Casey said. “There was nothing better—especially against John Jay, one of our rivals.”
Dahlke, Casey and Jamison Embury all tallied a hat-trick for Yorktown, which has amassed 26 goals in its last two wins over Jamesville-DeWitt and John Jay. Hunter Embury and Anthony Altimari added one goal apiece to round out the offensive production. Goalie Louis Ragusa made four of his nine saves in the fourth quarter, helping to fortify the Huskers’ previously leaky defense. Altimari, a faceoff specialist, won 4 of 5 draws in the final quarter. Boyer scooped up a game-high seven ground balls and added an assist.
It marked Yorktown’s 14th consecutive victory over the rival Indians, who haven’t bested the Huskers since 2010. Bryce Ford, Jack Gorman, Michael Minard and Sean Nolan each scored twice for John Jay-CR, which led 4-2 after the opening quarter and 7-4 at the half.
Ford knifed through a storm of white jerseys to extend John Jay-CR’s lead to 10-5 midway through the third quarter. At that point, the Indians’ long-lasting drought against the green and white appeared to be coming to an end.
The Huskers simply refused to let it be.
“We started to win some faceoffs, pick up some ground balls and the defense started to lock down a little bit,” Carney said. “John Jay doesn’t play as many guys, so I think that helps us a little bit. They had the same guys on the field, so maybe they got a little tired. Our guys started to pick up the ground balls, move it and the offense started to finish. All of a sudden you get into a flow and you start to play lacrosse.”
The Huskers also topped host Jamesville-DeWitt 15-11 on April 11 in a rematch of last year’s Class B state final. Jamison Embury (2G, 4A), Casey (3G, 1A), Dahlke (3G) and Ragusa (13 saves) led the way in the win.