NYACK — It had been tied in the early going.
3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6.
And when top-seed Horace Greeley fell behind, it was always within a goal or two of tying things again.
So when Rowan Edson rifled a shot high left into the net to cut Yorktown’s lead to 13-12 with 11:01 to play Friday night in the Section 1 Class B championship girls lacrosse game at Nyack High, it seemed like the game would be high-scoring and likely decided late, if not in overtime.
After Yorktown went up again by two goals on a Alex Scialdone 8-meter free shot, with 9:08 left, Greeley had a chance to make it a one-goal game a couple of minutes later when Edson unleashed a long, hard shot.
But Husker keeper Maggie Appelle, who’d made multiple strong saves during the contest, made another and this one seemed to fuel her team.
Yorktown wasted no time in getting the back back the other way. and the senior Scialdone sent a perfect pass to sophomore Brienna Gaccino, who in one of Greeley’s rare defensive breakdowns, was wide open in front of the net.
Gaccino didn’t miss, giving the Huskers a 15-12 lead with 6:55 to play.
That was seemingly lots of time for Greeley to make things interesting.
But the Husker defense, led by Appelle, who made two more saves, including one off an 8-meter free chance, didn’t allow another Quaker goal, in fact, in all, keeping Greeley off the scoreboard for the game’s final 11 minutes.
When the clock expired, Yorktown had a 15-12 win and its first Section 1 girls lacrosse championship since 2017.
What it means
Greeley, which was making its first appearance in a girls lacrosse section final, finished its season 15-4.
Yorktown, now 14-5, will play the Section 2 Class B champion Wednesday at Schuylerville High School in a Class B regional semifinal game.
Player of the game
Multiple players on both sides are committed to various college programs.
For a time, Gianna Altimari had basically scrapped that idea. She gave up playing high-level club lacrosse and concentrated on academics.
But now Altimari, who didn’t participate in the recruiting process, will try to walk on at Division I Quinnipiac and her performance Friday can only bolster her chances.
Altimari took top game honors. She scored three times, had two assists, beat Greeley to secure a team-high seven balls off the draw, got four other loose balls and caused the Quakers to turn the ball over twice.
“She’s a gamer. She brings heart, hustle and the grit we need,” Yorktown coach Heather Raniolo said of Altimari.
Girls lacrosse Class C championship:Brennan, Puccio lead John Jay-CR past Rye 10-8
Girls lacrosse Class D:Defending state champion Bronxville routs top-seed Briarcliff 13-3
Girls lacrosse Class A:Suffern holds on to beat North Rockland for Section 1 title 9-8
By the numbers
Ava Cunneen, and Gaccino both had four goals. Gaccino also had an assist and secured three loose balls.
Scialdone had a hat trick and that big assist and Reileigh McEnroe scored once, going end-to-end to give the Huskers a 10-7 lead early in the second half.
Appelle, whose strong stops included one on a Bae Bounds hard hopper, had seven saves.
Edson, who won eight draws, had a team-high four goals for the Quakers, including an absolute blast lefty that had given her squad an early 4-3 lead.
Bae Bounds had a hat trick and won the race to five balls off the draw. Logan Skuro scored twice. Her beautiful submarine-style goal with 15:40 left cut Yorktown’s lead to 11-10.
Taylor Rice also scored twice, including off a one-timer on a Skuro feed.
Erica Rosendorf had a goal and an assist and won four balls off the draw.
Grace Richards had one of the plays of the games, beating multiple Yorktown players to secure a loose ball, and, then, semi-surrounded, breaking free and feeding Skuro for a goal. That was one of her two assists.
Greeley goalie Tatum Walsh had five saves, including a nice stop on Gaccino.
They said it
Rosendorf described her team as exhausted and noted there were constant battles for balls off the draw and other ground balls.
The senior, a four-year varsity member (although COVID canceled lacrosse her freshman year), celebrated Greeley making the final, rather than dwelling on the loss.
“I’m so incredibly proud,” she said after the awards ceremony. “I still have a smile on my face. We made history. I started playing in kindergarten and I always looked up to this team, so I’m so happy we made it this far.”
“Our girls, they battled. They battled the whole way,” Greeley coach Maggie Sharp said.
Appelle, a junior who started playing lacrosse in third grade, seemed calm and focused on the field but said of the game, “It was scary.”
Still, she knew she had one job and focused on that.
“No matter what the score, I told myself it was zero-zero and this (next) save could be the game,” she said.
Yorktown coach Heather Raniolo said the key to the game was ball possession. She praised Edson as “very talented” taking draws and noted draw controls went back and forth.
She liked how her team communicated, pointed to Appelle’s late save on Edson as a “huge play in the game.
She also cited defenseman Reese Bruno as having been solid and a force one-on-one.
“Everyone on the team is a threat and everyone played a full game,” Altimari said.
Of being a section champ for the first time, Altimari added, “I love this feeling and I love to enjoy it with my entire team. We all contributed.”
Nancy Haggerty covers cross-country, track & field, field hockey, skiing, ice hockey, basketball, girls lacrosse and other sporting events for The Journal News/lohud. Follow her on Twitter at @HaggertyNancy.