HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – For Yorktown’s Luke Palmadesso, the face-off he took with 48 seconds remaining on June 7, 2014, at Hofstra University’s scorching hot James M. Shuart Stadium, was the biggest of his career.
Yorktown was clinging to a 10-9 lead after a Jamesville-DeWitt goal in the state Class B title game. Palmadesso would win that face-off, sealing the Huskers’ 10-9 win and their seventh state title in their legendary history.
“That face-off was huge, and I give a lot of credit to my wings, keeping their guys off of me,” said Palmadesso, who also scored. “I knew if we could get that face-off, that we wouldn’t look back. After that, all that was left was to kill the clock.”
Palmadesso said that it meant everything to win Yorktown’s first state title, since 2003.
“It’s a town and a program that prides itself on working hard and doing it the right way,” said Palmadesso, a two-time All-American. “A state championship is one of the goals every year, and to bring one home is so special. It makes you think about all of those who came before you and worked to achieve the same goal. I think a ton of the credit is due to those players and coaches paving the way and maintaining the standard.”
Austin Fusco, defensive MVP and two-time All-American, said it was an incredible honor to bring a state championship back to Yorktown.
“It meant the world to all of the players to give back to our coaches, parents, alumni and all the people who supported the Yorktown lacrosse program,” said Fusco, who played four years at Syracuse University.
Palmadesso earned the offensive MVP by dominating at the face-off X, winning 19 of 23 face-offs.
“I was successful that day for a number of reasons, but really I think it came down to a mindset,” said Palmadesso, who played four years at Villanova University. “I had full confidence in myself, and my teammates in me. I knew if I could have a good game at the X, we’d be in a good spot with the team we had.”
Fusco scored a goal that would go down in Husker lore. With 5:20 left, after a takeaway check and being a man down, Fusco, with his long pole, went end to end, putting Yorktown up 10-8.
“It’s never really easy to describe or easy to put into words,” Fusco said. “I just remember how excited and happy I was immediately after I heard our fans cheering.”
“I couldn’t believe that I had scored and we increased our lead to two goals,” Fusco added. “I knew we had a great chance at finishing the game with that lead and all I was focused on was closing it out as soon as I got back to my position on the other end of the field.”
What made the win extra special was playing in front of 1,800 people, the majority of them from Yorktown, who made it feel like a Huskers home game.
“The support we got that day was everything,” Palmadesso said. “I’ll never forget pulling into the parking lot of the stadium, and seeing a sea of Yorktown alum, family, and friends, hours before the game. It really showed how much everyone cared. That same feeling of pride translated onto the field as well, seeing the stands filled almost entirely with Yorktown support. It brought a huge energy boost to our team that carried us through the game.”
Fusco said that without the support of their, friends, family, and fans especially, Yorktown would not have won a state championship.
“They were tremendous; the best fan section in high-school sports,” Fusco said of “The Crop.”
Nicky Bonitatibus (2G, 2A), two-time All-American Connor Vercruysse (2G, 1A), Nick DelBene (2G), Matt Gonzales (1G), Kris Alvarado (1G), Billy Strassman (1A), and Austin Graham (9 saves) all made it into the box score for the Huskers, who finished 18-5.
Palmadesso, Fusco, Vercruysse and Eric Meyreles were the Huskers’ captains, with the head coach being Yorktown graduate, two-time All-American Dave Marr, who also coached the Huskers, to their 2003 state title.
Fusco said the bond that the team had made it special.
“I personally think that was the only reason we won and were able to put it all together in the end,” Fusco said. “We were all very hard on each other, but in the end, we knew we could count on each other when we needed it most. That gave us the confidence we needed, to play more loose and relaxed in pressure situations.”