This was the year it was all supposed to be different for Yorktown. The highly touted ‘Huskers were finally going to slay the dragon that had been their nemesis for 30-plus years.

Ward Melville was, by all accounts, supposedly in the midst of a rebuilding phase and simply not the juggernaut of a Long Island program we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing.

The Patriots showed today precisely why they have owned this tradition-rich series, and in the process forced the ‘Huskers to reflect on just how good they may or may not be.

Using a suffocating half-field defense, all-out hustle and opportunistic precision on offense, Ward Melville defeated Yorktown, the No. 2 team in this week’s LaxLessons Top 25 regional rankings and No. 6-ranked team in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse national poll, 8-6 at Charlie Murphy Field.

With the win, Melville is now 29-7 all-time against Yorktown, including 12 wins in the last 14 meetings. Yorktown has not won since 2001.

“We knew coming in that we matched up well against them,” Melville coach Mike Hoppey said. “Their offense runs through two or three people so we knew if we could limit their big guys to two or three goals instead of what they are accustomed to scoring, we’d have a good shot. I thought we’d need 10 goals to win.”

Hoppey’s assessment was all too familiar. Every team knows that to throw Yorktown out of sorts it all starts with containing all-America middie John Ranagan, who will attend Johns Hopkins next season, and junior stud attackman Kevin Interlicchio (who is also committed to Hopkins). The difference Saturday was Hoppey’s players executed that game plan to perfection.

Close defenders Matt Kunkel, Tyler Brennan and Zach Zannone frustrated Interlicchio, who finished with a quiet two goals, including the 100th of his career, with a variety of looks, including straight shutoffs and doubles.

“Our defense was impeccable,” said Patriots senior attackman Cody Ferraro, who scored three goals, including two late in the fourth quarter that put the game out of reach. “We are a lot less of a finesse team than we’ve been in the past. We show a lot more toughness and willingness to pound the ground to get a win.”

Ferraro, who will play for Army next season, said a one-goal loss to Garden City earlier in the season really hit home. Since then, Melville (4-2) has outscored its opponents 33-8 during a three-game winning streak.

“After Garden City we came to the realization that some things would have to change if we were to play with the good teams,” Ferraro said. “Yorktown is a very good team. They have a lot of talent, but we have a ton of hard workers. We will do whatever it takes to win.”

Melville went up 2-0 in the first quarter, but then Yorktown (5-1) ripped off three straight goals to start the second, the last coming on a Ranagan lefty man-up crank from 15 yards out that seemed destined to get the vaunted ‘Husker offense going.

But those moments were scarce today.

Melville responded with unassisted goals from Will Mazzone and Nick Giampaolo and carried a one-goal edge into the intermission.

The Patriots dominated possession over the first 24 minutes, mostly because they owned faceoffs, got nearly every ground ball and forced Yorktown into a number of turnovers.

“Our guys weren’t ready to go,” Yorktown coach Dave Marr said. “At times it was like they never played lacrosse before. We’re going to have to learn from this.

“Ward Melville lost twice early, but they are never ‘down.’ I don’t believe it when people say that,” Marr added. “They’ve beaten us like 18 out of the last 20 times, so thinking they are ever down is not really an option.”

Melville started the second half by shutting off Interlicchio and doubling Yorktown’s attackmen as they drove from X. The Patriots extended their advantage to 6-3 on goals from Ferraro at 7:33 and by longstick Brennan with 28 seconds to go.

As the fourth moved along Yorktown started to get things going. Interlicchio cut the deficit to 2 with an unassisted goal two minutes in and a little under four minutes later Ranagan stole a poor clearing pass, beat one defender and fed Tom Casey for a layup that made it 6-5.

However, three-and-a-half minutes later Yorktown goalie Mike Bonitatibus, who made several excellent saves in the first half, returned the favor with a shanked clearing pass that Pat Day picked off near midfield. Day fed Ferraro, whose righty crank again upped the Patriots’ lead to 2. Then, two minutes later the two hooked up again, this time off a clear, making it 8-5.

Joey Porcelli got Yorktown back to within 8-6, but the ‘Huskers simply ran out of time.

Zach Quinn played a huge role in the victory for Melville. The senior goaltender made several impressive second-half saves, including stops on Casey, Ranagan and Interlicchio in the waning minutes.

“Quinn has been really good for us,” Hoppey said. “He played behind all-American Steve Rastivo last year and didn’t get a chance to show what he can do.

“Today was his coming out party.”

As for Yorktown and all the hype that surrounded its five-game winning streak to start the season, Ranagan was open and honest following today’s loss, saying he and his teammates had been reading their press clippings.

“Myself included, we read into the hype. From now on we’re going to take care of ourselves. We’re going to do what we have to do — all 33 guys — to get to that state championship,” Ranagan said. “We really felt like we were going to do it today. Now I have no more shots at Ward Melville and they are undefeated on this field.

“We learned that we’re not invincible.”

Posted In: Long Island lacrosse

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29 Responses to “Ward Melville puts to rest "down" rumors, frustrates Yorktown”

  1. ganggreen says:

    Cuse, take it easy bro

  2. tizo says:

    Yea you should of after you let greeley almost beat you.

  3. Lax Novice says:

    Good teams learn from setbacks like today’s, sounds as if young Ranagan is going to lead that learning and put it to good use when it really matters in the postseason.

  4. LaxMan says:

    Yorktown didn’t almost let greeley beat them, 7 to 1 first quarter, the game was never in doubt.
    I really would like to see another section 1 team beat ward melville let alone keep it as close as it was today. yorktown is the only team capable of representing Section 1 this year so people should remember that

  5. syracuse says:

    Full credit should go to Melville. Yorktown could have won this game, but didn’t because:

    Coach Hoppey had a master gameplan. He had his kids pressure Yorktown all over the field. And it worked perfectly. Town threw the ball away a million times, couldn’t clear effectively and was often caught standing around and watching while an attackman drove from behind the cage and got doubled.

    Look, Yorktown is good, but Melville is the rare team that doesn’t beat them by overpowering them offensively. Melville beats them with a system of defense, focus and intensity. They don’t make the kinds of mistakes that cost games and always make the opponent to beat them instead of beating themselves.

    Losing this game will hurt for a while, but Yorktown will bounce back.

    I think more than anything else, Town has to move the ball better on offense and rely less on isos from up top and on the wings. They have all but abandoned any notion of cutters and instead are driving and either shooting or dumping off.

    That won’t work against guys who know how to play good positional defense.

  6. just a fan says:

    Greeley never had a chance to beat Yorktown….ever….even with Town playing poorly. To play like Yorktown did today with countless turnovers you cant exspect to win. Thet are not just another section 1 team. Town deserved to to lose today. This could be a wakeup call. I dont think WM is a more talented team but they executed today and had a much better game plan.

  7. syracuse says:

    just a fan,

    Well said.

  8. […] Ward Melville puts to rest “down” rumors, frustrates Yorktown Apr 18  Email This […]

  9. Pequa says:

    Yorktown is going to get absolutely manhandled by West Islip in downstate semis if they even make it that far. The real reason they wanted to be in A though is so they atleast make the semis. If they stayed in B they knew they’d lose to Niskt in the quarterfinals.

  10. S1wss says:

    a lot of homers voting in the poll question…. Chaminade should be no.2, when do they play town?? if town beats them then it gets interesting, but far as i know they only lost two WI so i say make them no.2 they beat St. Anthony’s who Town beat and Town was no.2

  11. fan says:

    why do you make such a rediculous comment, yorktown played niskyuna last year and was never trailing them the entire game, with all they returned, although niskyuna is a very talented team, what makes you think town is afraid?

  12. ripo says:

    League I -A League II-A League III-A
    1 Yorktown 2Lake./Panas 3 JJCR
    6 Hen. Hud. 5 Rye 4 Mahopac
    7 Brewster 8 Somers 9H. Greeley
    12 Fox Lane 11 Suffern 10 Put. Valley
    13 No. Rock. 14 Byram Hills 15 W. Plains
    18 Bronxville 17 Scarsdale 16 Cl. South

    joe how do they seed according to just class A or power league or what????

  13. Joe Lombardi says:

    Ripo –

    As always, the so-called “power league” teams in Section 1 automatically receive higher seeds than those outside the league regardless of class. But they do seed according to class for the sectionals.

  14. ripo says:

    so how would it work in class B is it the power league first then how you did against other class b teams?

  15. Joe Lombardi says:

    Yes. Class B teams in “power league” draw top seeds, then other B teams are seeded next.

  16. Pequa says:

    Look I’m just saying if they wind up playing does anyone think West Islip would beat yorktown by less than 8 or 9 goals?

  17. LaxMan says:

    The state playoffs are down the road and no one gave syosset a chance to beat west islip last year or Yorktown so u saying that west islip will beat yorktown is just not important. what is important is what the actual outcome is. Yorktown has a very good shot at beating West Islip, WI has only played Yorktown once 2 years ago, and that WI team was much better than this one and that Yorktown team 12 and 10 was much weaker than this one. the outcome was 12 to 7 on the island. They may lose by 8 goals if they meet this year but i wouldn’t bet on it.

  18. syracuse says:

    Pequa … no wait. You made a statement saying Yorktown only went to Class A so they’d be guaranteed to make the state semifinals because they knew they’d lose to Nisky.

    I think you should have your posting privileges revoked for that asinine logic.

    As for West Islip, sure, the Lions would be the heavy favorite right now, and, yes, Yorktown was very disappointing on Saturday and may be a bit overrated, but to try to project win/loss margins for June when we’re still in APRIL if putting the cart before the horse a bit don’t you think?

  19. syracuse says:

    I was just told by someone very well connected inside Ward Melville Nation that the Patriots not only scouted Yorktown they had basically a college-type scouting report filed on the ‘Huskers from their game against Greeley. So, Melville did its homework like any team should. Add that to the type of talent, coaching and system they play and it’s completely understandable how efficient Melville was on both sides of the ball on Saturday.

    To further expand on my comments to Pequa I will say I do agree with him on the following point: West Islip would likely feed Yorktown its lunch if the teams played right now.

    That said, though, we’re all going to learn a lot about Town in the coming weeks. It’s imperative they have strong showings against Mahopac, Darien and Chaminade, or else the general notion that Yorktown is a superb team for Section 1 and the Hudson Valley but will fail yet again to get it done on Long Island when it matters will continue to fester.

    From what I saw Saturday, Yorktown is a tad bit overrated, but taking the opponent and the utter domination Melville had had in this series I think it would be fair to say we could give Town a mulligan for the effort. That’s not to say Yorktown supporters should look at the loss as an aberration. That’s hardly the case.

    This team has a TON of work to do, but they do have the talent to still make noise in June.

    It will all depend on how humbled they now are and how willing they are to make the most of this bad situation. Let’s face it. Saturday’s loss, even though it was by only 2 goals to a storied program, hurts considering the expectations.

    But that hurt doesn’t have to linger. Beat Darien and Chaminade and get the ball rolling again.

    I have said this before on other sites. Yorktown is always a work in progress. They are always a team that gets exponentially better as the season progresses.

    I expect that to happen again this year, but it will take a special dedication and even better execution this time around to dispel all the notions that this team will once again bow out in the state semifinals.

  20. Taz says:

    One of the things I love about this forum is that no matter what I say, I can always rely on “Cuse to be more inflamatory than me!

    One of the things that the Y’town-WM game once again showed is that no matter who you are, if you have a 1 or 2 headed monster – whether it be Interlichio/Ranagan for Y’town or Foley for Darien or English for Manhasset – a well played defensive scheme can minimize that effect on the game. Each of these teams seems to sometimes fall in to standing around and watching their stars. Many people don’t realize that Huntington was way more than the Brattons – they had 5 or more guys going big time D1. Same thing for WI – it’s way more than the Nicky Galasso show. In the last few games Manhasset seems to have gotten the message – many people scoring, English scoring and assisting. Darien is a work in progress. Y’towen’s success will ultimately also be determined by how well they also become more than a 2 man show. Based on history I’m betting they figure it out.

  21. Doid23 says:

    I haven’t seen this years Town team (although I’ve seen most of the kids over the years), so I can’t comment on whether they are overrated or this was just a tough loss.

    But I know that teams change during the course of a season (hell, considering their high school kids, the course of a week), and what a team looks like now doesn’t necessarily mean anything at the end of the season. Town could get better, they could get worse, no way to know.

    But that’s why the good coaches and programs schedule tough opponents. Sure, everyone wants to win every game, but as a coach, I know that it was always easier to improve a team after a loss (kids were more willing to listen, your flaws are usually magnified, and even coaches can sometimes get a false sense of comfort). Given the choice, I’d rather win all the games, but it’s a long way until June, and lot of games and learning before we get there.

  22. Lax Novice says:

    I think these are all wise comments relating to the notion that being the best means learning from setbacks and working to eliminate weaknesses as best you can before the important games come up.

    Syracuse, your comment about WM having scouted Yorktown extensively along with your previous point that their attack strategy seemed relatively simple compared to WM’s last Saturday begs the question whether the Cornhuskers do scout these non-Section 1 opponents ahead of these games or do they only do that for the post-season, or perhaps not at all? Being a novice, I wouldn’t know, can you enlighten us, thanks.

  23. syracuse says:

    Lax Novice,

    I have to believe Yorktown scouts every team as extensively as the Huskers, themselves, get scouted.

    In this case, though, I don’t believe scouting would have helped them against Melville, because Melville does nothing special offensively, nor did they really do anything special offensively on Saturday. Yorktown’s defense, as a whiole, played really well.

    On the other hand, Melville threw in wrinkles defensively — doubles and shutoffs — that may have been specifically installed for Yorktown from its scouting report. Melville may not have had the need to do that in 12-1 win over Half Hollow Hills or its 13-1 win over Middle Country prior to the Town game, assuming that’s when Town’s scouts saw them play.

    Every team knows there are opposing scouts in the stands. Some teams go ahead and show what they have anyway. Some empty the playbook, but others don’t show everything. Say a great Section 1 team is playing a middle of the road or relatively poor Section 1 team with a big game coming up next against, say, a Section 8 or 11 team. That very good Section 1 team may hold back a lot of things because it doesn’t need to use its full arsenal to beat the Section 1 team it is playing.

    Now, I’m certainly not saying Yorktown held anything back against Greeley. Judging from the results and everything I’ve been told about the game, Yorktown did what Yorktown does. If they had an aspect of their game that Melville could have exploited from a scouting report it was on defense, but to a man everyone seems to agree that Town just didn’t bring it defensively that day. Melville probably didn’t benefit from any scouting in that regard other than learning general uniform numbers, names and sets. But everyone gets that.

    Where Melville hit the jackpot was seeing Town’s one-dimensional offense. Its scout probably saw Ranagan and Interlicchio and Casey isoing from all over the field and quickly surmised that with Melville’s already stellar man-to-man defensive abilities, coupled with a few wrinkles like the shutoffs and doubles, they could contain Yorktown’s stars.

    Which is exactly what the Patriots did and exactly what Yorktown didn’t do with regards to adjustments.

    I think at the end of the day what we saw Saturday was a complete effort from Melville — everything from scouting, adapting, game-planning and execution.

    It would be real easy to just say Yorktown just didn’t get it done or whatever, but give credit should instead be given to Melville for literally doing everything that needed to be done to win this game — both before and during.

  24. ripo says:

    yorktowns defense did the job they held a good team to 8 goals the town O has to score more than 8

  25. Syracuse says:

    By the way, word has it Chaminade’s defense may be better than Melville’s.

  26. Joe Lombardi says:

    Just a quick programming note.

    We may have the biggest Saturday of the season in the region coming up.

    Among the matchups: Yorktown vs. Darien and Rye vs. Put Valley during the day and Garden City-Manhasset (118th Woodstick Classic) and Ridgefield-Somers at night.

    We never like to announce our coverage plans in advance, because we do change things on the fly. But I am trying to work it out so I can make three of these games. I’d like to get to all four obviously.

    ‘Cuse is working on an in-depth preview of the Woodstick Classic — perhaps the premier rivalry game in the nation.

    This year’s game will be played at 7 p.m. at Manhasset.

    Manhasset , which won the first game of the series 9-0 on May 22, 1935,
    leads the series, 64-53. But Garden City has won 11 of the last 12 meetings, including last year’s 9-5 victory.

    Crowds of more than 2,000 annually attend the game.

  27. slacrosse says:


    Believe Rye/PV game is at 7PM.

  28. Joe Lombardi says:

    sl –

    Just confirmed with Put Valley coach Brian Kuczma. The Rye at Put Valley game is at 4 p.m.

  29. slacrosse says:

    thanx Joe

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