CROSS RIVER – The regret was obvious as John Jay came off the field.
So was the anger.
Yorktown only needed five minutes to erase a sizable deficit Thursday, showing more determination than desperation while coming back and posting an impressive 9-7 win over a longtime rival.
This one left a mark.
“It’s the biggest game of the year,” Huskers goalie Liam Donnelly said. “They’re our biggest rival other than Lakeland/Panas. You can’t lose to them. You don’t want it to happen, ever.”
Yorktown has won 12 straight in the series.
The Indians were three steps ahead the entire first half, surging to a 5-1 advantage.
Jamison Embury got the Huskers started, finishing in transition with 5:17 to go in the third. Kyle Casey reeled off three consecutive goals to knot the score.
John Jay had no answers.
“We obviously were happy with the start, but we knew they were going to come back hot,” Indians attackman Jackson Rieger said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be enough and it clearly wasn’t.”
Justin Cavallo gave Yorktown a 6-5 lead when he scored with a defender riding him to the ground with 11.1 seconds to go in the quarter.
“I knew that I was going to come back to my left hand eventually, so I kept him on my back,” the Huskers attackman said. “He was pushing and pushing and when I got close enough, I dove and the ball went in, so I was pretty pumped about that.”
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Cavallo backed in for another goal to start the fourth, then set up Casey to make it an 8-5 cushion with 8:09 to play. Rieger scored to narrow the gap, but Jose Boyer answered in a blink to make sure the momentum didn’t begin to slip.
Player of the game: Hunter Embury. The sophomore midfielder won seven critical faceoffs to fuel Yorktown’s comeback run.
Turning point: Donnelly came up with two highlight-reel saves to keep the Indians from putting an end to the decisive third-quarter run. He finished with 13 saves.
Stat line: Casey led the Huskers with four goals. Cavallo had three goals and three assists. … Rieger had three goals and one assist for John Jay.
Quotable: “The rivalry goes way back and it’s still going,” Casey said. “No matter what, this and the Murphy Cup are the best games of the season.”