MIDDLETOWN – The disappointment was obvious as Liam Donnelly sat on the turf, watching Jamesville-DeWitt collecting all the hardware that comes with a state championship.
The bruises will heal in time.
Watching the season come to an end was far more painful than any of the nasty shots the Yorktown goalie absorbed during a 9-6 loss to the Red Rams in the NYSPHSAA Class B title game on Saturday at Middletown High School.
“We came together as a family,” Donnelly said. “It’s a tight-knit group. I’m going to miss these guys.”
The Huskers ran into a legitimate force in Jamesville-DeWitt, which moved the ball without hesitation and finished with precision. And the Red Rams’ defense was, impressive, too.
It took the Section 3 champs only six seconds to grab the lead.
“We never got into a flow on offense and the entire game was a battle,” Yorktown assistant Sean Carney said. “The boys played well, but that’s a fantastic lacrosse team. They have great players up and down.”
Yorktown eventually settled down and knotted the score 1-1 in the last minute of the first quarter when Justin Cavallo took a pass from Hunter Embury and fired a shot that went off the goalie before trickling in.
Kyle Casey had the Huskers up early in the second quarter, but Ryan Archer got J-D even and Griffin Cook sent the Red Rams into halftime with a 3-2 edge.
“When we got on a run, they’d slow down and finish shots,” Casey said.
Archer made it a 4-2 lead with 6:32 to play in the third. Jose Boyer answered, scoring on a hesitation move 25 seconds later. Casey twisted and turned before finishing with a lefty flip to tie the score, 4-4, but the momentum never really switched. Archer gave Jamesville-DeWitt the lead before the quarter was over.
Jack Mulvihill won five straight faceoffs, helping the Red Rams control the ball.
Yorktown spent a lot of time playing defense and was down three when Shane Dahlke scored on a fast break to make it an 8-6 game. The Huskers won the next faceoff, but the box official watching a backside substitution flagged them for being offside.
There was a contentious conversation.
Yorktown head coach Dave Marr continued to argue when play resumed. He was flagged and later ejected.
“It was a rough one, but refs are going to call what they want,” Boyer said. “We have to roll with the punches and we weren’t able to do that. They’re going to make the calls, we still have to keep playing hard, and unfortunately, we didn’t.”
The dagger came when Grayson Burns scored with 1:31 to play.
“It was a fantastic run,” Carney said. “At the beginning of the season, our defense was kicking our butts in every single practice. Brett (Makar) and Jose and Tyler (Makar), those kids are fantastic. But to see the kids progress, from Jamison (Embury) to (Dom) Cioffi to Casey turning into a beast of a lacrosse player, it was fantastic to watch. It’s terrible for the seniors, but they did an awesome job leading the young guys to this spot.”
Player of the game: Archer was huge, finishing with three goals and two assists for Jamesville-DeWitt. He is the son of Red Rams head coach Jamie Archer.
Turning point: Mulvihill won four straight faceoffs to start the fourth quarter, leading to a pair of goals from Burns that gave J-D an 8-5 cushion with 4:11 to go.
Stat line: Boyer finished with a game-high 10 ground balls for the Huskers. Casey had three goals. Donnelly made seven saves. … Burns finished with three goals and one assist. The Red Rams won the ground ball battle 31-29. Dylan Fleischman made nine saves.
Quotable: “The outcome is not what we wanted,” Donnelly said. “It’s going to hurt for a while. I know the future is bright for these guys and that’s all I could ask for them.”