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resize-for-joe-2Top photo: Put Valley’s Ryan Fitzgerald and Dillon Chesnut celebrate a goal in the Tigers’ 15-9 win over Rye. Photo above: Kyle Calabro lets it rip for PV. (Photos by Ray Gallagher)

• Click here for Section 1 photo galleries.

• For Section 1 commentary and features.

• For video highlights of the Yorktown-Darien game, click here.

Let’s start our review of what was an eventful day of action with some headlines.

Here’s the headline I would write for each of the three games I was at today, along with some thoughts.

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Yorktown defeated Darien 9-6 today to win the inaugural Tom Lener Memorial Cup.

Result: Yorktown 9, Darien 6

Headline: ‘Huskers earn some redemption

Thoughts: Michael Bonitatibus couldn’t remind the exact final.

“I think it was 17-4 or 17-5,” the Yorktown senior said.

Actually, it was 17-6. But that’s not the point. I asked the Loyola-bound goaltender if it was the worst game of his four years as Yorktown’s starting goaltender.

“Yeah, probably,” he said at first, before thinking some more. “Yeah, it was.”

Which makes today’s 9-6 Yorktown victory all the more special. Bonitatibus made 14 saves and the ‘Huskers won the inaugural Tom Lener Memorial Cup.

“This was the first time I ever beat Darien on any team I’ve played on,” Bonitatibus said.

The final result was not the typical score of a big Yorktown win against a highly regarded opponent. Check the scores when Yorktown has defeated national powers. They are usually in double digits. Not today. And that may be a good thing.

I really believe that although Yorktown has two of the premier talents in the state in Kevin Interlicchio and John Ranagan, it does not have the offensive depth it had in years past — including last year.

But with Bonitatibus, and defenders John Fennessy, Brendan Brunelle, Ethan Fox and Brett Cabriele, the ‘Huskers are as good in that department as they’ve been in years.

So what am I saying? Simple. If Yorktown is to beat teams like Chaminade and West Islip, look for scores similar to today’s — not the traditional higher scoring results.

Darien, meanwhile, has had a tough go of it. The Blue Wave lost their leading returning scorer from last year, Nikki Dysenchuk to a torn ACL.

The Blue Wave have suffered other preseason and in-season injuries. But coach Jeff Brameier, who was looking for his 400th varsity win today, has never used that as an excuse for losses to Manhasset, Malverne Prep and today Yorktown. In fact, about 20 minutes after the game today, he sent his team out to the track to do some extra running — showing the high standards that have helped Darien reached the level of success it has.

Result: Putnam Valley 15, Rye 9

Headline: Tigers are the team to beat in Section 1 Class C

Thoughts: Brian Kuczma admitted he was surprised. So too did Jim van de Veerdonk.

How could you not be?

After all, the Tigers hit up a team that did not allow more than nine goals all season for 15 of them in a 15-9 victory over the four-time defending Class C champion Rye Garnets.

“When you plays the Dooleys, you expect a 5-4 game,” said Kuczma of Rye head coach Brian Dooley and his brother, Scott, who is the Garnets’ assistant coach.

Early on, it looked it might be a rout. The Tigers jumped out to a 5-0 lead. But Rye stormed back to pull within 5-4, led by a pair of goals by Rob Santangelo.

Then came what I thohght was the crucial stretch in the game. With 2:35 left in the second period, Dillon Chesnut scored to make it 6-4. Moments later, van de Veerdonk, who ended up with six goals, scored again to make it 7-4.

Though Rye wound up pulling within 7-6 before Put Valley went on a 4-0 run to go ahead 10-6, that initial response to the big Rye run was a difference maker.

“Definitely,” van de Veerdonk said. “They came right back at us, and then we came right back at them. That was important because they had the momentum and we hadn’ beaten them in four years.”

Result: Ridgefield 17, Somers 9

Headline: Ridgefield is the real deal

Thoughts: They don’t sell season tickets for high school sports teams around this area (thankfully, I might add), but if they did, you’d definitely want to considering getting some for the Ridgefield Tigers.

Ridgefield is good. Very good. In fact, after what I saw tonight, it’s apparent they’re as good as just about any team in the region. (With the possible exception of West Islip.) But there’s much more to the Tigers than that. They’re fun to watch, too.

“We play the game the way it’s meant to be played,” said first-year coach Roy Colsey. “It’s old-style Syracuse lacrosse. We hit and we run and gun. If you want to watch exciting lacrosse, come see us.”

Amen to that, Roy.

The Tigers have four Division I-bound offensive stars:

• Attackman Matt White, the No. 6-ranked senior in the nation accoring to Inside Lacrosse, is headed to Virginia. (He had four goals and two assists vs. Somers.)

• Attackman Colin Scott is bound for Denver. He had six goals and two assists today.

• Midfielder Matt Baker, who scored twice vs. Somers, will play at Colgate.

• Midfielder Brendan Walsh, who had three goals, is headed to Fairfield University.

You can catch video interviews with all four of those guys — and Roy Colsey — in the coming days here at LaxLessons.com.

Be sure to weigh in with your comments.

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Posted In: Fairfield lacrosse

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21 Responses to “Wrapping up an eventful Saturday”

  1. SirLaxalot says:

    Guys –
    Great job with your analysis leading into these games and your coverage of them.
    First off congrats to Syracuse for correctly predicting Somers/Ridgefield score and to Joe for getting the Yorktown/Darien and JJ/St. A’s scores right.
    You guys really know the game and I can’t imagine what following lax in this area would be like without this blog.
    Keep up the truly outstanding work Joe and staff.

  2. Pinky says:

    Two things,
    Darien is down big time this year and had two offensive threats on the bench. Still a very good team but 9-6 from the supposed powerhouse Yorktown???

    Prediction- Yorktown will get trounced in the state tournament.

    Ridgefield- Excellent offense, incredible stick skill and lax IQ. Goalie is average at best and defense isn’t great. They showed little class with the game in hand head hunting last night in Somers.

    Let’s be honest, section I is down big time this year. Who can Somers beat out of the powers in Fairfield County? Darien, no, Greenwich, no, Ridgefield, big no, Fairfield Prep, no, Wilton, maybe, New Cannan, maybe.

    This was the first solid team that Ridgefield played and it wasn’t a definitive display.

    Ridgefield is in great shape because Darien, Greenwich and Prep are all down this year.

  3. re:lax says:

    I don’t think that you’re giving enough credit to Yorktown. Yes Darien is definitely down and they did not look good at all but I also think that Joe’s analysis is right on. They looked that way in part due to Town’s D. Town is a good team, Chaminade will be a measure of that.

    Darien does not at all resemble teams of the past 5-6 years…sloppy with the ball and slow to gbs. Maybe they get their injured players back and get better for the playoffs.

    Great coverage Joe. Thanks.

  4. 4tOWNd says:

    Joe and Cuse and all…you are doing a fantastic job, we are so grateful for all your hard work, gracias.
    I think Town could have won by more goals. Although their offensive play and shot selection was improved, they still have hard work ahead of them to compete post season. When they are ahead by 3 plus goals they should slow it down a bit, take their time, and make their shot, rather than turn it over and give the other team a chance to get back in the game.

    Town D was very good, played with intensity, worked as a team.

    Many of the coaches scouting Darien thought they were a force to e reconned with.

    Why did the Darien coach make the boys run after the game, it was so hot 🙁

  5. franklyscarlett says:

    Interesting that people are saying Darien is down big time this year given that all winter people were touting this Senior class as possibly the best ever to go through the system. I don’t think I buy that they’re down. I think they front loaded with hard teams and are fighting through some injuries that have forced them to move people and change responsibilities. If they are so down but still play mighty Yorktown to a 9-6 game what does that say about Yorktown?

    Pinky, I was at the Ridgefield Somers game and I think your accusation of classless headhunting by Ridgefield is way off base. They came, they played, they won, cleanly. Show some class and say well done.

  6. re:lax says:

    frankly-

    Maybe it was the Senior class touting that they are the best ever? They, or their parents, have been saying that for the last five years. Injuries have definitely hurt them and they are still a good team, just not, at this point, not up to their usual very high standards.

  7. LAX says:

    Darien is good every year. Losing to a Manhasset team (which is one of the strongest teams they’ve had for a while and beat GC yesterday 8-2) by 1 goal isn’t bad at all, and it’s a good win for Yorktown after they got crushed last year. I still think the most impressive win for Yorktown this season is beating St. Anthony’s 14-10 though, a team which recently beat Delbarton. With that said, however, Yorktown is going to have to play a near-perfect game if they stand a chance against West Islip in the state tournament. I still think they have a chance, though.

    Yes Somers got crushed but Ridgefield I think is the strongest in CT this year, and without Somers starting goalie that’s what I was expecting.

  8. GangGreen says:

    LAX,
    Somers starting goalie sat out for the first quarter, while the back up made five saves and the score at the end of 1 was 5-2 or 5-3…Longo came in in the second and gave up the next 12 goals…Longo missing a quarter really wasn’t an issue last night…

  9. Joe Lombardi says:

    Franklyscarlett is definitely correct. There was no headhunting last night. There were lots of hard hits and one or two borderline late hits. It was a clean, well-played game.

  10. Joe Lombardi says:

    With NCAA tournament selections about to come out, thought you folks would be interested in seeing the first RPI D-I rankings released by the NCAA.

    Just like men’s hoops, RPI rankings have a HUGE impact on who gets in to the tournament and where they’re seeded.

    Here’s the link:

    http://web1.ncaa.org/app_data/weeklyrpi/2009MLArpi1.html

  11. LAX says:

    Oh I didn’t know he missed just a quarter.

  12. Indian J says:

    Joe,

    Is it possible for you to work some of your magic and let us us know who will be available to play for JJ on Tues vs. Lakeland/Panas ? As it stands now it could very well be that J will be playing without there three best players. This would be remarkably unlucky. Im not sure though if this is the case or if the disabled list has changes for Tuesday.

    There’s L/P and then a red hot Putnam Valley team to play thursday.

  13. Kuu says:

    South plays suffren in the county championship tuesday. Will you be sending anyone over there to catch to what is supposed to be the machup of the year in rockland.

  14. TuskerTown says:

    Give credit where it is due. Allthough Somers did not play well at all in the first half, ( Looked unmotivated ). Ridgefield is the best offensive team in this area in a real long time!!

  15. Joe Lombardi says:

    Indian J –

    I just checked in with JJ coach Nick Savastano. Here are updates on the injuries:

    • Jameson Pickel (groin), likely to play Tuesday.

    • Forrest Walter (elbow), day to day.

    • Will Stewart (shoulder), may play Tuesday, definite for Thursday.

  16. sec1 says:

    Yorktown needs to make one ajustment, and it is not on Defence, which will keep them in the game againts anyone… It is on the Offence, Town has eight games left they must move #24 on to their starting Attack, which will open up the offence, and also give them more dept.. This is a must or they will have a very diffacult time with the LI champ.

  17. Indian J says:

    Joe thank you very much for that. It sounds pretty good.

  18. Lax Novice says:

    Great job by Yorktown, a well-deserved win. Darien hung tough after going down 5-1 at the end of the 1st quarter. The Huskers were more opportunistic and benefited from many Darien errors, forced and unforced. Yorktown fans should definitely check out the video linked here, makes it look as if they won 25-0.

    Thanks again for all the coverage, glad the game didn’t disappoint.

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