The Yorktown Huskers boys’ lacrosse team has made their money on rapid-fire third quarter spurts.
Every game, the Huskers’ coaches and captains take every millisecond of the intermission to dissect issues and implement new methods of attack. The Huskers supply each other with motivational words, demand each player hikes up the physicality a notch, and reminds them what they’re capable of.
During Yorktown’s thorough 17-6 pasting of Mahopac, a game that was deadlocked at 4-all at the half, the Huskers reeled off a quick-strike third quarter 5-0 surge. It spurred a titanic second half explosion. Against nationally-ranked Chaminade this Saturday, another third quarter onslaught emerged. The Huskers ripped off five consecutive goals to seize a commanding 9-4 bulge en route to a resounding 12-8 signature win.
“I guess we’re just a second half team,” said Huskers defenseman Trevor Koelsch. “It really has a lot to do with the halftime speeches. I mean it’s a great job by the coaches, captains, and everyone really contributes.”
The Huskers were not so much striving for national visibility as they were looking to make a statement. They wanted to prove they could play with the “who’s who” of the nation’s elite. Head coach Dave Marr and staff emphasized a full throttle, four quarters performance. They knew, during a game of this magnitude, every little play was going to be amplified.
Yorktown’s offensive patience set the tone for the torrid (and it this point expected) third quarter momentum rush.
The Huskers’ were methodical in sharing the wealth, pegging cutters and creating open looks. Everyone ate off the plate. Conor Vercruyesse, flushed into a leadership role this season, spearheaded the Huskers with a team-best three goals.
Brian Presteau, who’s rapidly evolved into a scoring threat (he popped five goals in the Mahopac win), bagged two goals. Luke Palmadesso added a pair of goals. Nicky Bonitatibus drilled a goal and delivered an assist. It was as exemplary a brand of team ball as the Huskers have displayed this season.
“Everyone was involved in this win,” explained the Hopkins-bound Koelsch.
“Austin Fusco was great between the lines and on clears. T-ROD (Tomas Rodriguez) had a goal that was huge, (keeper) Austin Graham stood on his head for a couple of goals. That was great. You can’t really pinpoint one player specifically and give them credit, everyone pitched it. Danny Manning was excellent on face offs.”
Defensively, the Huskers collectively put the clamps on a team whose proclivity for backside looks and shoving the ball in the crease drew Yorktown’s attention.
Koelsch was assigned to shifty sniper Ryan Lukacovic, a heavily-rated Virginia-signee who can get his shot off in blink-quick fashion. Lukacovic paced Chaminade with three goals and two assists.
“I just knew I had to stay on his hands,” explained Koelsch.“My goal was really just to stay in front of him the whole time. I have to give a lot of credit to the coaches and my teammates. The rest of the defense was a huge help at handling slides.”
Presteau darted past traffic and popped home a 5-4 ball that ignited the third quarter spree. Palmadesso added insurance, scooping up a loose ball and storming to the cage, ripping one past Dan Fowler (10 saves). Yorktown added on.
“We’ve got a group of good, experienced players on this team and I think we just come out for the second half more amped up,” said Husker senior Nick Mariano, who scored a goal and doled out an assist.
“I think it’s a matter of getting used to the goalie. With all the shots we put up before the game and during the first half, we kind of have a better feel for what we want to do when the third rolls around.”