By Mike Dougherty
YORKTOWN — The high regard was of no use after the first whistle.
Chaminade was unbeaten and ranked second among the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse weekly Top 25 until the charter bus pulled into the Yorktown parking lot and the Flyers ran into a determined Huskers team that competed like it was starving for national attention.
It was a convincing effort.
Yorktown got a number of unexpected contributions from a deep roster Saturday and dealt Chaminade a stunning 12-8 defeat.
“This is amazing,” said Huskers long pole defenseman Trevor Koelsch, whose team was not among the Top 25. “We live for games like this.”
All of the big plays were preceded by a little one, whether it was forcing a turnover with unrelenting pressure or hustling into a crowd to pick up a critical ground ball.
“You do the little things right, you come out with the win,” Yorktown midfielder Luke Palmadesso said.
There was no shortage of heroes for Yorktown (10-1), which had to deal with some nervous moments at the beginning. Chaminade (9-1) was in control and took an early 1-0 lead on Jack Tigh’s man-up goal. The first three Huskers possessions resulted in two forced shots and one turnover.
A deep breath was in order.
“We knew eventually the offense would start clicking,” Koeslch said. “We had to hunker down for the first couple of quarters.”
The intensity picked up and Billy Strassman knotted the score with two minutes left in the quarter off a Nicky Bonitatibus pass. Yorktown kept winning face offs and ground balls. Palmadesso bounced off a defender in the opening minutes of the second and scored, giving the Huskers a 2-1 lead.
It was only the second time all season the Flyers were forced to play catch-up.
Tomas Rodgriguez, a long stick midfielder, came rumbling down the field and made it 3-1. Chaminade answered with a three-goal run. Ryan Baker scored off a Nick Mariano feed in the final seconds of the half to make it 4-4 at the intermission.
“We just wanted to come out here fired up,” Yorktown attackman Conor Vercruysse said. “When we come out like that, we can play with anyone in the country.”
A little more attitude in the second half gave the Huskers breathing room.
Brian Prestreau blew past three defenders six minutes in, giving Yorktown a 5-4 edge. Palmadesso ran down a loose ball on the sideline and came pinballing in for another goal. It was a 7-4 lead after Vercruysse picked up a long rebound and promptly deposited the ball in the net.
After three quarters, the Huskers were sitting on a 9-4 cushion.
“This has got to be the most complete game we’ve ever played as a team,” said Verycruysse, who finished with three goals.
Austin Graham came up with 11 saves for Yorktown, which needed a couple of timely stops at the end when the nerves showed up again.
The question now is, do the Huskers realize they will be getting a heaping helping of adulation and be playing with the proverbial target on their backs the rest of the way?
“I don’t think they care,” said Yorktown coach Dave Marr, whose team’s only loss was to Shenendehowa in overtime on April 6. “I know that I would rather get the win and have a target on my back than lose.”