Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Beat Goes On For Comerford, Tight-Knit Huskers

Katy Comerford's innate nose for the net made her a hot-handed scorer. 

Comerford's knack for finishing on the fly, depositing fast breaks, and ability to reward the swift-passing attack with quick rips rendered her a multi-faceted weapon. 

When she spots up and gets loose in the half-field set, there are few limitations on Comerford's scoring acumen. 

Her ability to slither through tight spaces and score amid contesting sticks and amplified coverage makes her a tough guard. 

A collective effort to put the clamps is on her will only feed her deceptive, boiling intensity. 

As a sophomore, Comerford scored 68 goals and doled out seven assists, helping propel the Huskers to a berth in the Section 1 championship game.

Comerford's offensive engine and coach-ability earned interest from countless Division-I programs.

 She chose Villanova for its high-level academics, proximity to Yorktown and the program's unwavering focus on expanding the Wildcats'  burgeoning lacrosse culture. 

Developing a relationship with 'Nova head coach Julie Young helped sell Comerford. The Wildcats will invest four years in a recruit already tailor-cut for their system. Villanova has spent the past three seasons molding several scorers of her make-up. 

Young, who played at Princeton, coached at Haverford before ascending the ranks to the Big East.

A centerpiece of a Ziplock-tight core, Comerford has the upside of a linchpin in Villanova's swift ball movement and patented 1-on-1 game. 

Comerford edged past defenders, found seams, and embraced a newly discovered killer instinct during her sophomore campaign. She popped four goals during the Huskers' eyeball-to-eyeball 13-13 draw with Somers. 

She again developed the hot hand during an thorough 18-5 drubbing of Rye, when then sophomore rifled in six goals.

 USC-commit Emily Concialdi's athletic displays of sustained relentlessness on the draw circle enabled the scoring outburst, which saw 10 different players pop goals in that lopsided affair. 

"Our team relied on each other," said the heavily-courted Comerford, who took many a campus visits before making a verbal pledge to Villanova. 

"We passed, scored, defended as a team. We increased our communication on the field and trusted each other." 

Under Ellen Mager, who has groomed steady wave of Division-I talent,  lofty expectations to replicate the success of a 17-3 campaign are given.

 The Huskers lost a 15-12 thriller to border town foe Somers, in the latest episode of the staunchest rivalry on this side of the Hudson River. 

Gauging her grit against top-tier competition, Concialdi will return as an essential component and a facilitator of the Huskers' net-to-net transition game.

Concialdi worked extensively at defense, becoming more aggressive and motivated to blanket scorers and pursue the rock.

Of course, the Huskers' biggest attribute is one that will never appear in any connotation on the stat sheet: Togetherness. The culture, akin to sisterhood, has been established long before the varsity stages. 

"Playing with the girls you like just makes it so much more fun to play together and it helps us connect on the field," said Concialdi, who doubles as one of Section 1's elite skiers. 

"During the off-season we're all best friends and it definitely helps us on the field." 

While the Huskers lost considerable luster to graduation, they return a playmaker/scorer in Jenna Gammer, integral in locating cutters and utilizing that LAX IQ. 

The Huskers' youth movement continues with the return of sophomore Rilea Fusco and blurring quick Casey Duff. 

Fusco offered instant impact as a freshman, subscribing to the role of creator. Duff stepped up during crucial transitions, a stealthy threat capable of dicing defenders and finishing off dashes to the cage. 

The Huskers will have a backbone between the pipes in Nikki Prestiano. 

The incoming senior, tasked with neutralizing some of the nation's premiere scoring cyborgs, safeguards the house while constantly studying up on her opposing team's tendencies: Where the ball goes, where player X likes to snipe from, who is the featured scorer in what particular spot...

Of course, Yorktown's primary advantage will be the imitable and irreparable bond, meshing and creating and defending each other's back with a furious fervor. 

"All of us have been playing together year-round since we were so young, which has given us the ability to connect so well," Gammer said. 

"Being so close is definitely a benefit to us on the field, since we know each other's strengths and are able to use them to our advantage."