Sunday, May 5, 2013

Yorktown Cops Murphy Cup In Offensive Onslaught


By Zach Smart

On the opening five minutes, Lakeland/Panas goalie Mike Zingaro kept the net intact with a slew of acrobatic saves. The veteran keeper stopped a blast here, thwarted a point-blank shot there, and supplied a mountain of much-needed motivation for the  underdog in the annual Murphy Cup game.

The early intensity could have been a portent that another knot-tight, seesaw battle between the two longtime blood rivals was on the menu.

Not so fast.

 Zingaro’s early defensive spark, though inspiring, would not prove prophetic.

 Brian Prestreau and L/P sniper Brian Prunty exchanged goals, but Nick Mariano (with 1:20 left) and sophomore Nick Del Bene (0:32) piped in back-to-back goals to close out the first quarter with insurance.

 A spate of turnovers by the Rebels resulted in goals. A constant barrage of picks, dodges, cuts resulted in Yorktown's pick-your-poison attack.

The Huskers (12-1)  ripped off a menacing 7-0 tear, methodically pounding the Rebels en route to a 14-2 drubbing at Yorktown High.

The Murphy Cup again belonged to the Huskers, who established the largest margin of victory in Murphy Cup History.

There was no tight battle, no pulsating overtime thriller. There was no late comeback bid, no furious and spirited rally that left fans clinging onto the edge of their seats. Nothing of the sort…

Just a high-powered Yorktown team which continued to rifle the ball at will, disrupt the passing lanes, and dominate on the X.

The tandem of Luke Palmadesso and Danny Manning won an astonishing 16 of 20 faceoffs, setting the table for an on-the-go offense. Palmadesso returned from a head injury (sustained during the Chaminade victory, when he absorbed a brutal late hit following a goal) that sidelined him against Ridgefield.

Yorktown's Brian Prestreau, who's had the hot hand, dropped a game-high five goals and dished out two assists.

Conor Vercruysse, a junior who’s emerged into a steady slinger, bagged three goals. Nick Mariano again played the role of table setter, letting the hungry Huskers eat off the plate. Mariano doled out four assists on top of two goals. Manning, Del Bene, and Mike Pulchalski each added a goal.

With an ultra-young and developing L/P still undergoing the chemistry experiment, this game did not hold the same rivalry feel as in recent years. This was not Garden City or Chaminade, not another epper echelon team providing an accurate barometer for the Huskers.

Still, nobody was arguing with history.

Fans flooded the field 20 minutes before the game. Every last parking spot was spoken for.

Remembering Charlie Murphy, the veritable Yorktown lacrosse Godfather, is always a highly celebrated event. Fans were decked in green, honoring the late and legendary Murphy, who many in the lax community knew as “Mr. Murph.”

Tomas Rodriguez, the long-stick middie who applied blanketing defense, had “C” etched on his left calf and “M” etched on his right in black ink.

The memory of Murphy, whose philanthropic decision changed the culture of Westchester lacrosse, was everywhere.

The Murphy Cup—certainly not the glistening shiny souvenir it once was in 1990 when the event originated—is more than enough to rev up Yorktown’s high-horsepower engine.

Filling a local team with words of warning about Yorktown’s elitism is akin to waving a flag in front of a raging bull or placing a tiny, smurf-sized dog in front of a barking, 140-pound German Shepherd. 

For Lakeland/Panas, a behemoth cross-town rival and the last team to defeat Yorktown in the Section I title (done in 2010), it is no different.
Simply put, you won’t find Yorktown and Lakeland/Panas sharing friendly banter or hanging out a post-game barbeque.

Yorktown did all the cooking Saturday.

 Even while nursing a 12-2 bulge following a Vercruysse pop with 1:18 left in the third, the Huskers were still executing a full blast attack. Yorktown was still delivering precise passes and whizzing the ball to its cadre of shooters.

“We just had to move the ball around quickly, we have to always be moving and cutting,” said Prestreau. “We knew it would create shooting lanes.”

 Yorktown outshot the Rebels, 48-18.

“We saw how important it is to value the ball,” said Brian Prunty, the Rebels’ featured scorer.

“Yorktown capitalized on failed clears and turnovers on the offensive end and created unsettled goals. Mike played awesome though, he made a couple of unreal saves.”

Zingaro collected 12 saves for the Rebels (3-10).

 Lakeland/Panas' Kevin Prunty deposited Tom Maietto’s feed with 4:38 remaining in the third quarter, accounting for the other Rebels goal.

Brian Prunty said this callow core will only benefit from playing high-caliber teams this season.

“Our schedule has been pretty tough,” explained Brian Prunty, a Siena commit.

 “We know what we need to fix, they are correctable things. Teams like Loyola-Blakefield, Penn Yann, and Yorktown can really expose a team’s issues. We will learn and get better.”

In addition to Rodriguez, Kristopher Alvarado, Eric Meyreles provided pressure. Lock up man Trevor Koelsch, Jack Phelan and Austin Fusco, a sought after recruit who chose Syracuse over Hopkins and UNC, kept the Rebels off balance. Goalies Austin Graham and Zach Reilly collected a combined nine saves.

“Our defense as a whole is key every game,” said Prestreau.

 “They all play an important role in all of our takeaways.”

Yorktown’s vision this season, burnt into their young brains time and time again, is to top every Section I foe.

 A trouncing of the Rebels only whets the Huskers’ appetite for more.

 With nine straight victories (two of them loud statements against national favorite Chaminade and CT power Ridgefield) following an exasperating 12-11 OT loss to Shen, the Huskers have one final Section I tune-up against Arlington.

Fortified by an Albany-bound keeper in J.D. Colarusso, much-improved Arlington has registered its presence this season.

No longer wedged in Dutchess County obscurity, Arlington copped a signature victory over Mahopac early in the season. They have ripped off two of its last three.

It is senior night for the Huskers. Expect emotions to be running moon-high.