The game was literally up for grabs until Alex Corpolongo intercepted a nervous pass at midfield with a minute to play and went sprinting to the cage with the costly turnover.
He quickly drew a crowd.
Corpolongo prudently set up Tyler DeVito, who snapped off a bounce shot with 50 seconds to play on Thursday and gave Somers a 9-8 win over John Jay. The celebration held off until Justin Corpolongo won the ensuing faceoff.
It was easily the most satisfying win to date for the up-and-down Tuskers.
“We had turned the ball over and knew we had to get back,” DeVito said. “Alex did an incredible job getting back and picking off that ball. Everyone was crushing in on him because they know he’s a big shooter and I just slipped open for the shot. I was a little nervous to pull the trigger at first.”
The Indians came in with a six-game winning streak and were missing standout attackman Tommy Beck, who is out with a shoulder injury.
“Alex was huge,” said Tim Cousin, who scored three goals for Somers. “He’s always looking to make a play, and if he doesn’t make that one, we don’t know how it ends.”
The pass-and-catch miscues were an issue for John Jay (6-2) the entire game.
Momentum shifted quickly after Chris Marasco popped out for a goal after bobbing and weaving on the backside with early in the fourth. Shawn Smith got the Indians within a goal in transition, and Jack Lambert picked up a ground ball, legged it in and set up Frazier Bostwick to make it an 8-8 game with 6:11 to play.
“Jack’s an explosive player like that and can easily change the game,” Cousin said. “We had to get the ball and not let them play that game.”
Bostwick finished with four goals.
Keeping the ball for any length of time in the last five minutes proved to be a challenge for both teams. The rivals have a history of nail-biters, and nerves were clearly an issue down the stretch.
“We definitely thought we had momentum, but a small breakdown led to a goal the other way,” Lambert said. “It’s tough to stop that. I guess the pressure was on, but the whole game, throw and catch, we weren’t executing that at all.”
There was an issue getting to ground balls early on, too.
Somers was up 4-0 and rolling after the first quarter. Chris Marasco got the fire started with the game’s first two goals and Justin Corpolongo rushed in after winning the faceoff to add one more. Alex Corpolongo wasn’t letting his younger brother have all the fun and capped the run.
John Jay picked up the pace, but could not seem to finish against the zone defense that is learning on the job.
“That group, at the beginning of the season, we all were a little unsure about them, but they play so well together,” said Marasco, who finished with three goals. “And with Nik Genualdo in net, he’s unbelievable for somebody who’s in his first year playing the position.”