The regular season games of the year are set for this week in both Fairfield, Conn., and Westchester in New York’s Section 1.
Four-time defending state champion Darien visits Ridgefield on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Ridgefield jumped out to an unbeaten start before losing to New Jersey prep school power Lawrenceville 12-11 last week.
Four-time Class B sectional champion John Jay hosts Yorktown on Friday at 7 p.m. Yorktown is No. 9 in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse national rankings.
“My first two years — freshman on JV and sophomore on varsity — they beat us,” Yorktown senior midfielder John Ranagan said. “Last year we came back and beat them. It’s always exciting.”
The rivalry, which started in 1983, reached its peak in 2006 when John Jay beat Yorktown twice on its home field and snapped Yorktown’s streak of eight streak sectional championships.
“They’re a good team,” said Yorktown junior attackman Kevin Interlicchio, who, like Ranagan, is bound for Johns Hopkins. “We have to come out on fire to get the win.”
Extra-Special Day: Yorktown 9, Chaminade 8, OT. John Jay 11, Syosset 10, OT.
There were no league championships at stake in those two games Saturday. No sectional seedings were on the line either. But both games had a playoff feel to them.
And for good reason. After all, this is why they play these games.
Though they may not have any tangible importance in terms of league standings or seeds, they are, in effect, playoff primers.
“This is the type of game you’re going to play in the playoffs,” Yorktown coach Dave Marr said after the ‘Huskers pulled out their dramatic win on Interlicchio’s unassisted goal 1:42 into overtime “To have a chance to play in the kind of pressure situations you’re going to see then I think really helps.”
So too does a schedule that features as many of the type of games as possible.
When John Jay’s schedule for this season was finalized back in the dead of winter, many had to wonder if it was a bit overly-ambitious for a team that had 13 sophomores.
Maybe so. But that doesn’t mean coach Nick Savastano and the Indians didn’t make the a wise decision.
“I think we’re a better team because of the teams we played,” Savastano said.
Somers rallies to beat Lakeland/Panas in OT
There was something in the mist Thursday night at Walter Panas High School.
With a thick white haze engulfing the field, the game between Somers and host Lakeland/Panas had a unique feel to it.
It’s a feeling Somers hopes to experience once again real soon.
The Tuskers rallied for a 10-9 overtime win after trailing 9-7 late in the fourth quarter. The win was especially sweet for Somers for a variety of reasons.
First, a week earlier to the day earlier, the Tuskers squandered a lead in losing to Rye 9-8 in overtime.
Second, it marked first-year Somers coach Lew Janavey’s first coaching appearance against the Rebels, where he served as an assistant from 1990 to 2004.
Finally, it was a physical, hard-hitting and at times chippy game in which emotions boiled over at times.
Somers won it 40 seconds into overtime when Syracuse-bound attackman JoJo Marasco blasted home a low shot into the left corner of the net.
“Colin (Tullgren) put it there for me,” Marasco said. “Then after I took that first slide, and I just tried to put it in low.”
Trailing 9-7 late in the game, the Tuskers rallied to force overtime on goals by Dylan Haas (with 2:25 left in regulation) and Marasco (with 2:06 left), who finished with three goals and two assists.
Haas, Rob Lombardo and Greg Petre each had two goals for the Tuskers. Cole Partenza had the other goal for Somers. Chris Longo made 13 saves.
“Certain guys played selfishly down the stretch and we made some mental mistakes you just can’t make,” said Lakeland/Panas coach Jim Lindsay, who expressed his sentiments to his team in a 10-minute post-game huddle. “We gave the game away. That drives me nuts.”
Moments before Somers’ comeback, a heated exchange occurred between Marasco and Lakeland/Panas’ Owen Rice, in which Marasco fell to the ground in apparent pain after taking a slash to the stomach before the ball was dropped. The two then exchanged words while serving their ensuing penalties. Moments later, a near melee between the teams at midfield ensued. Order was restored, but emotions were at a fever pitch (one player was called for five penalties during the course of the game).
“There was some chippy play,” Janavey said. “We’re a physical team and they weren’t backing down.”
But Lindsay said the Rebels weren’t able to counter the Tuskers’ physical style.
“They outgroundballed us,” Lindsay said. “I don’t think we were able to match their physicality. We’re just not as physical as much as we may want to change that habit.”
Somers played without faceoff specialist Matt Deiana, who is out with a foot injury. In his place, junior Erik Pfiffner took the majority of the faceoffs and fared well against Lakeland/Panas faceoff standout John Hitmann, especially in the second half. He won the faceoffs that set up the tying and winning scores.
“That was my whole focus going into the game,” the Colgate-bound Pfiffner said. “I knew how important it was going to be and I was really focused on it.”
Will Fallo had two goals and an assist for the Rebels. Jack Doherty and Shawn Honovich also scored twice. Steven Hoch made 16 saves.
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.