This year’s Section 1 championships may well be most remembered for what almost happened rather than what actually did.
That’s because Yorktown nearly fell in the sectional finals for what would have been just the third time in the last 30 years before rallying to defeat Lakeland/Panas 11-10 in overtime on a goal by senior midfielder John Ranagan.
“You never want to be that team,” Ranagan said. “We’ve only lost the section twice during all this time. We didn’t want to be the third. We just knew we had to come back and play our game.”
John Jay and Rye, meanwhile, were both denied bids for fifth straight sectional titles thanks to inspired efforts by Somers and Putnam Valley respectively.
Here are recaps from the championship games at Glenn D. Loucks Stadium at White Plains. All three Section 1 champs advance to the quarterfinals on June 9 at the University at Albany against the following teams: Guilderland (Class A), Niskayuna (Class B) and Schuylerville (Class C). The state semifinals are at Middletown High School on June 11. The finals are at Rochester’s Paetec Park on June 13.
• Class A: Things looked bleak for the Yorktown ’Huskers late in the fourth quarter. Second-seeded Lakeland/Panas, which lost to Yorktown 17-5 in last year’s final, jumped out to a 3-1 lead and rallied to go ahead 9-4 in the third quarter after consecutive goals by Conor Prunty, John Hittmann and Jack Doherty.
But Yorktown rallied to tie it at 9-9 with five minutes to go when Remy Lieberman scored his second goal off a Joey Porcelli feed.
Shawn Honovich then scored his third goal with just under four minutes to go in the fourth to give the Rebels a 10-9 lead.
The ’Huskers then tied it at 10-10 with 52 seconds left in regulation when Kevin Interlicchio pinned the lower right-hand corner.
After the Rebels won the opening faceoff of overtime, Yorktown defenseman John Fennessy stripped the ball away to give the ’Huskers possession.
Ranagan then scored unassisted 1:33 into overtime the give Yorktown the win. The play came after Towson-bound defenseman John Fennessy caused a turnover.
“I just knew we need a play, took it hard to my left, made a cut move and turned and fired it,” Ranagan said. “I just knew we needed a play.”
Lakeland/Panas effectively shut off John Ranagan and Kevin Interlicchio, collapsing on both Hopkins-bound all-Americans whenever they touched the ball. Particular entertaining was the matchup of 5-foot-1 Lakeland junior defenseman Andrew Fazio on the 6-4 Ranagan.
• Class B: Somers, known for its physical style of play on the field and free spirit off it, entered last week’s game being in the uncharacteristic position of being a No. 1 seed that was also the underdog.
But that’s more a credit to how well a young, third-seeded John Jay was playing entering the title-game showdown. Which makes Somers’ accomplishment even more impressive.
The Tuskers (15-4) hit up a John Jay defense that had been stellar during the second half of the second, led by the four-goal outing of Syracuse-bound senior JoJo Marasco.
“Groundballs really helped us,” Marasco said. “We won a lot of faceoffs, too. That really helped us. We were so physical out there. The football players we have really helped us. We’ve been doing that all year.”
While the two-time all-American came up big, so did the rest of the Tuskers’ offense. Junior attackman Greg Petre had three goals, including one seven seconds into the game after classmate Erik Pfiffner won the opening faceoff.
Three players — Colin Tullgren, Kieran Donohue and Cole Partenza — each had two goals for the Tuiskers.
“Guys really stepped up today,” Marasco said. “It was the sectional championship. They really realized what was going on.”
Somers’ close defense of Erik Zmuidins, John Bello and Eddie Schurr and the Tuskers’ tenacious defensive midfielders effectively shut off John Jay all-America midfielder Will Stewart, holding him to one goal. Junior goalie Chris Longo enjoyed his second outstanding effort of the season against John Jay, making 17 saves. Sophomore midfielder Mike Daniello had four goals and two assists for the Indians (10-9). Drew Beck also scored three times.
• Class C: Dillon Chesnut scored five goals, including the 100th of his career, as top-seeded Putnam Valley picked up a 10-7 win over No. 2 Rye for its first sectional title since 2004.
The game was tied 2-2 after the first quarter and 4-4 at halftime before Put Valley (14-4) outscored Rye 4-0 in the third quarter.
After Jack O’Callaghan pulled Rye (12-7) within 8-6 in the fourth, Chesnut scored his fourth of the game and 100th of his career to give PV a 9-6 lead with three minutes remaining.
O’Callaghan and Matt Foristell each had two goals for Rye.
Brendan McCrudden made 15 saves for the Tigers.
Suffolk championships: Since a mid-season loss to Ward Melville, West Islip has been a team on a mission. The Lions were among the three teams that came away with Suffolk County titles at Stony Brook University to advance to the June 9 Long Island championships, back at Stony Brook.
• Class A: In the featured game of the day at Stony Brook, a strong second half lifted West Islip to a 9-5 win over Ward Melville.
Andrew Hodgson had four goals for West Islip (19-1). Teammate Nicky Galasso added three.
Greg Smith had two goals for the Patriots (16-2).
The Lions will play Hicksville for the Long Island championship.
• Class B: Doug Meehan’s fourth goal of the game midway through the fourth quarter snapped a 9-9 tie as Sayville defeated Smithtown West 11-9.
The Golden Flashes (14-5) will play Garden City in the Long Island championship game.
• Class C: Top-seeded Mount Sinai (12-6) got three goals each from Joey Bongiorno and Shane Henry in an 11-8 win over Glenn to advance to the Long Island championship game against Manhasset.
Nassau championships: Though all three favored teams wound up winning, there was plenty of drama in the Nassau County championships at Hofstra University.
• Class A: Second-seeded Hicksville overcame a 5-2 halftime deficit to defeat the fifth-seeded Baldwin Bruins 7-6.
Hicksville’s Joe Leonard scored back-to-back goals in the fourth quarter to give the Comets (15-3) the title, with the winning goal coming with under three minutes left. Leonard had three goals.
Kyle Rebman, Max Malinowski and Alonzo Holcombe each had two goals for the Bruins (13-6).
• Class B: Top-seeded Garden City rolled to an 11-4 win over No. 3 Lynbrook for its fourth straight county championship and 18th overall.
Mike Lind had all three of his goals in the first quarter for the Trojans (17-3).
Brandon Ayers scored twice for Lynbrook (18-3).
• Class C: Top-seeded Manhasset built a 4-0 lead but had to hold off a second-half rally from Cold Spring Harbor in a 7-5 victory.
After the Seahawks pulled within 5-4, Jeff Molinari scored a big goal 1:32 into the fourth period to make it a 6-4 Manhasset game. The Seahawks (15-3) outscored Manhasset 4-1 in the third quarter, led by Matt Moynihan’s two goals.
Connor English had three goals for Manhasset (17-1).
Another first for Ridgefield
There’s no way of knowing now what will wind up happening down the line.
But if the Ridgefield Tigers do indeed wind up becoming one of Connecticut’s premier programs on a year-in, year-out basis, then mark down this date.
June 2, 2009.
No matter what happens though, it’s a date that will go down in program history. On that date, the Tigers beat Darien 7-6 in overtime to win the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship for the first time.
“Just hearing you say that send chills down my spine,” said Ridgefield senior attackman Matt White, who scored the winning goal with 2:44 left in OT off a fastbreak feed from Matt Baker.
During the regular season, White scored in overtime to give the Tigers another first — a 8-7 win over Darien that was Ridgefield’s first against the Blue Wave since the 1984 season — the year Darien launched its varsity program.
The Tigers became the first team other than Darien, Greenwich, Wilton or New Canaan to win an FCIAC title.
Joe Lombardi, who has been a fixture on the lacrosse scene during the sport’s rapid growth in the New York metropolitan area, produces editorial and video content for LaxLessons.com. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.