CROSS RIVER – In the lead-up to John Jay’s season-opening game against Yorktown on Tuesday, even the team’s six freshmen understood the rivalry between the schools.
“It really pumped us up to have Yorktown as our first game,” John Jay freshman Jenna Donohue said. “I’ve always watched varsity and wanted to be out here to play against Yorktown.”
The end result, a 15-5 Yorktown win, reflected the different states in which the two programs currently reside.
Yorktown, a team consisting mostly of returners as well as eight seniors, won the draw control battle 15-6 and also moved the ball quickly on offense. Of the 15 Huskers goals, 11 were assisted.
“We’re so pumped, we have so much chemistry; Yorktown lacrosse is such a family, we know that we have to keep this tradition going on,” said Yorktown junior attack Rilea Fusco, who had a team-high four assists to go with two goals. “John Jay is such a rival, we wanted to come out here and do our best.”
This was Yorktown’s second game of the season, the Huskers defeating Arlington 14-5 in their season opener on Saturday.
Senior attack Katie Comerford led the way Tuesday with a team-high six goals to go with three assists.
“We came out strong because our communication on offense and our transition from defense to offense is really good,” she said. “We were really pumped because John Jay is a great competitor, and we knew it would be a good fight.”
On the other side, John Jay is a team made up mostly of newcomers, having graduated two all-Americans in Amanda Flayhan and Emma Gorman, as well as other key players such as Hannah O’Reilly, Jilli Schell and Dakota Adamac.
It is a very different squad than the team that went 11-6-1 and lost to Yorktown in last year’s sectional semifinal.
“To have Yorktown as the first game was tough, but I’m kind of glad that we did it and got it over with,” John Jay head coach Ali Steinberg said. “We got our jitters out, and we had glimpses of greatness; we need to look at those positives and build from there.”
Donahue led the Indians with three goals while two other freshmen, Jenna Giardina and Cara O’Reilly, rounded out the scoring in their varsity debuts.
“It feels pretty great to get three goals my first game, but I have to credit my teammates, they helped me out,” Donohue said. “It’s our first game, it didn’t go as we hoped, but we have a lot of learning experiences from what happened.”
Player of the game: Katie Comerford, Yorktown. With three goals and two assists against Arlington, Comerford already has 14 points on the season before most Section 1 teams have even begun play.
Turning point: Yorktown’s Casey Duff opened the scoring 2:06 into the game, and by the 16:26 mark the Huskers had built a 4-0 lead. Donahue got John Jay on the board six minutes later, but Yorktown rolled off three more unanswered goals to quickly end the Indians’ momentum.
Stat line: Yorktown’s Duff had four goals and an assist, Michelle Seger had a goal and two assists, while Ashley Stilo and Ellen O’Callaghan had a goal each. … Yorktown senior Catherine Calidonna, a first-year starter, made nine saves for the win, while John Jay goalie Kelly McKeon made nine saves in the losing effort.
Quotable: “For our kids, when we see John Jay uniforms, we get fired up and that showed up on our hustle to loose balls; our new goalie has stepped up really well so far, so I hope that continues,” said Yorktown head coach Ellen Mager, whose team will host Connecticut powerhouse Darien on Saturday. “(Against Darien) we’re just going to have to play a little cleaner than we have these first couple of games. I hope our defense shows up big, because they are going to need to.”