Yorktown Upends Greeley, Huskers Crowned for 1st Time Since 2017

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Briarcliff Falls in Class D Finals, Somers Ousted in B Semis; Pace U. Takes National Title

By Tony Pinciaro
Members of the second-seeded Yorktown Cornhuskers hoist their first Section 1 Class B title plaque since 2017 last Friday at Nyack High School where the tradition-rich Huskers snapped a 6-6 tie and never looked back en route to a 15-12 win over top-seeded Horace Greeley.

The YORKTOWN girls’ lacrosse team returned to a familiar place – the title circle. Following a 15-12 win over top-seeded Horace Greeley, the second-seeded Cornhuskers are the Section 1 Class B champions, Yorktown’s first sectional title since 2017.

Yorktown (14-5 this season) will play Section 2 champion Bethlehem Central in a regional semifinal, Wednesday, 5/31, 7:30 p.m., at Schuylerville High School. The winner plays Section 9 titlist Minisink Valley in a regional final, Saturday, 6/3, 12:30 p.m., at James I. O’Neill High School, for a berth in the state final four.

“Being that it’s been such a long time since our last section title, it feels amazing to be able to bring it home,” said senior and captain Gianna Altimari, who will attend Quinnipiac University in the fall. “The feeling of putting Yorktown back on the map for girls’ lacrosse is incomparable.”

Fellow senior and captain Alexa Scialdone agrees.

“This win meant the world to us,” said Scialdone, who will attend Clemson University in the fall. “We’ve been hunting down this dream since Gianna and I were freshmen. Our team worked really hard during this game. To win the section for the first time since 2017 is an absolute honor.”

Altimari and Scialdone each had a hat trick. Bree Gaccino and Ava Cunneen led the way with four goals apiece.

Yorktown advanced to the final with an easy 12-3 semi-final victory over No. 6 Harrison behind four Altimari goals and three goals apiece from Scialdone and Gaccino. Scialdone also added three assists.

Even though Yorktown did not play the Quakers during the regular season, the Cornhuskers were well aware of Horace Greeley’s offensive prowess.

Yorktown senior Alex Scialdone has her eyes on the cage before firing a shot during the Huskers’ 15-12 victory over Horace Greeley in the Class B championship game on Friday evening.

“We knew they had their handful of talented players so we knew we needed smart matchups against them,” Scialdone said. “We also knew that in order to win, we needed to be all over the field, needed to beat them to every ground ball and, most importantly, we knew the draw was the biggest part of the game.”

Coach Heather Raniolo’s Cornhuskers now plan on taking the momentum from its sectional-title win into states.

“I feel our team is definitely playing at our peak level,” Altimari said. “All of the work we have been putting in throughout this season is paying off in ways that keep moving us up!”

BRIARCLIFF turned in the finest season in program history as the Bears achieved numerous firsts.

The Bears finished with a program-best 14 regular-season wins and won their first league title. Briarcliff earned the No.1 seed in the Section 1 Class D Championship. Even though defending state champion Bronxville defeated the Bears, 15-5, in the title game, Briarcliff’s 17 wins is also a program best.

Briarcliff senior Riley Hite gets possession of a loose ball behind the cage in front of Bronxville goalie Olivia Shinsato during the first half of Thursday afternoon’s Class D championship game at Nyack High School.

“I could not be prouder of this team and all that they have accomplished,” Briarcliff Coach Dan Perlito said. “Each of the last two years we have continued to build on the previous year’s successes and I think this senior class has left the program in a position to continue that trend.”

Paige Krsulich, a captain, is among this senior class that Perlito was referring to.

“Although the result isn’t what we had ultimately hoped for, I am still so proud of my team’s successes this season,” said Krsulich, who will attend Vanderbilt in September. “The fact that we made history as the first Briarcliff girls’ lacrosse team to make it to the final and our impressive record throughout the regular season and overall made this season so amazing and a memorable way to leave my lacrosse career behind.”

Krsulich and four classmates graduate in June, but she agrees with Perlito regarding the program’s future.

“I have so much faith that the younger girls on the team will step up and continue to make history for the program next year and after that. We were lucky to have so many young talents that will only continue to mature and help carry the team.”

Adrianna Scanga of Briarcliff is closely guarded by Bronxville’s Linnea Hentschel during Thursday afternoon’s Class D title game. The top-seeded Bears fell 13-3 to the Broncos.

Briarcliff earned a title-game berth with a 13-9 win over Albertus Magnus.

Freshman sensation Nicky Einhorn scored four goals and Riley Hite added a hat trick. Adrianna Scanga and Diana Jones each had two scores, including Scanga’s 100th varsity goal.

Dani Siegel registered 10 saves, including the 200th career of her varsity career.

SOMERS had another fine season only to have it end for the third consecutive year to nemesis and 2023 Section 1 Class C champion John Jay-Cross River.

The Tuskers dropped a 14-7 verdict to the Wolves in a semifinal. The previous two years John Jay beat Somers in the Section 1 Class C title game.

“John Jay played a much better game against us and we had a season-high 16 turnovers,” Somers’ Coach Deb Daly said.

Somers finished with a 12-7 record. The seven losses are deceiving as the Tuskers played one of the toughest schedules in Section 1. Daly sought out high-caliber competition for her talented team.

“I was very proud of our entire program,” Daly said. “Our JV program progressed nicely and we were able to bring up players for sectional play. Our varsity team was small in numbers, but we had quality players.

“Everyone on our team contributed every day,” she added. “We had a competitive schedule and felt we were ready to begin league and sectional play. We had some great wins that showed our tenaciousness, like beating Yorktown and Hen Hud, twice. We had some bumps in the road, but used them to grow and learn from our mistakes. The maturity and growth we saw with our team was very impressive and I’m proud of every member of our team.”

Molly Fink led Somers in scoring with 40 goals and 49 assists followed by Sydney Ingraham with 62 goals and 21 assists. Teagan Ryan finished with 58 goals and 23 assists and Yale-bound Lauren McCartin netted 36 goals.

In her first season as PLEASANTVILLE coach, Hannah Tiso established the Panthers as a sectional contender. The Panthers went 11-5 in the regular season and that earned them the third seed in the Section 1 Class D Girls’ Lacrosse Championship. Included in those 11 wins were triumphs over Tappan Zee, White Plains, Carmel and Harrison.

The Panthers followed with a pair of sectional victories and berth in the Class D semifinals where they faced defending state champion Bronxville. The Broncos won 15-5 and went on to take the sectional title after beating top-seeded Briarcliff.

“I am so beyond proud of my girls this season,” Coach Tiso said. “It is extremely difficult to receive a new head coach before the season starts and they exceeded my expectations (and their own.) These girls came in with a mindset to start fresh, as that is what I kept reiterating daily, and that is what we did.

“We had to implement new offenses and a whole new defense, while building chemistry with many new players starting on the field,” she added. “They proved to me and themselves that dedication and hard work will have positive outcomes. We are going to miss our seniors, but I am so proud of the athletes and people they have become. I’m looking forward to continue working hard and preparing for next season!”

Erin Drillock scored twice against Bronxville. Kayla Collins and Ella McCourtney each had a goal and Faith Brown finished with one goal, five draw controls and four ground balls.

HORACE GREELEY had an excellent regular season resulting in the No.1 seed for the Section 1 Class B Girls’ Lacrosse Championship The Quakers beat Ursuline, 11-8, in a semifinal to reach the final. However, second-seeded Yorktown beat the Quakers in the title game, 15-12. Horace Greeley finished the season with a 15-4 record.

Erica Rosendorf had a big game with 11 goals against Ursuline and Taylor Rice added two scores. Rowan Edson finished with three assists.

Yorktown Nips Greeley, Wins 1st Title Since 2017.

When discussing the 2023 PACE UNIVERSITY women’s lacrosse team, it will be accompanied by the term, National Champions. The Lady Setters capped off their landmark season with a 19-9 victory over undefeated West Chester University (Pa.) in the NCAA Division II National Title Game.

It is the first national championship for any Pace sports’ team. Pace advanced to the final with a 22-11 semifinal win over Florida Southern College. Pace dropped a 14-12 decision to Florida Southern during the regular season.

The Lady Setters, coached by Mahopac graduate Tricia Molfetta, went 21-2, which included a program-record 14-game winning streak.
“I still don’t have words,” said Molfetta of winning a national championship. “I’m so proud of this team and what they’ve been able to accomplish and put our program on the map. It was so amazing to see our Pace faculty and staff greeting our bus as it arrived on campus. Many of my players had tears in their eyes. It’s just a really really special moment for us all.”

Pace established control in the first quarter of the final, scoring 10 goals and holding Bentley scoreless. In fact, Pace led 13-0 before West Chester scored.

“You know, I think we were just playing team lacrosse,” said Molfetta of the first-quarter offensive blitz. “We were sharing the ball, making the extra pass, getting stops on defense. And our draw team is so skilled. West Chester wasn’t able to have many possessions because of that. I also think our energy from the sideline to the players on the field, this group was just ready to go.”

Pace was hoping for another opportunity to play Florida Southern and it would come in a national semifinal. The teams met in Pace’s third game of the season, in Lakeland (Fla.), after the Lady Setters beat then No. 1 East Stroudsburg State.

“I think there were a few factors to that loss – the travel, heat, grass field – all things we are not necessarily used to,” said Molfetta, whose father, Rob, is the Hen Hud girls’ lacrosse coach. “But, I think we just didn’t play Pace lacrosse in our first meeting.

“We played nervous. We were forcing the ball, didn’t do a great job with pressure on the defensive end and we weren’t winning draw controls consecutively. All things that are not typical for us. I think we put in a game plan and our players executed on all levels in the semi-final game. I know they felt like they had something to prove, sort of a redemption kind of game.”

Pace had to rebound quickly with a game against then No. 4-ranked University of Tampa. The Lady Setters easily handled Tampa, 19-8. Molfetta points to that victory for fueling her team’s outstanding season.

“I think the East Stroudsburg game gave us a lot of confidence because that was one of the games from 2022 where we had lost and been winning,” said Molfetta, who was a four-year starter at Stony Brook. “And then to turn around, after losing to Florida Southern, and beat Tampa the way we did, I mean it was one of the most complete games we had all season.

“That definitely felt like a starting point for us and we kept talking about how we hadn’t even hit our ceiling yet. And, obviously to beat Lemoyne and Adelphi back-to-back in the regular season were just such huge mental victories for the team. We had never beaten them before as a program and to do it with such conviction proved, I think, to ourselves that there was no one that could beat us, unless we stopped ourselves.”

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