CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – Somers lacrosse shut down John Jay Cross River and earned a 9-6 victory when the two teams met on April 12. The result was precisely the opposite on Thursday when they met in the Section 1 Class B semifinals.
The John Jay Indians defense stymied the Tuskers in the second half and allowed just one goal in the fourth quarter en route to a 9-3 win and a trip to the Section 1 Class B championship game against rival Yorktown.
John Jay senior goalie Thomas Branca had an exceptional game as he turned away shot after shot. Head coach Tim Schurr credited him after the game.
“We gave him opportunities to see the ball, which he appreciated,” Schurr said. “He’s going to save the outside shots. He’s going to save all the ones he’s supposed to save. And today he probably saved two or three he had no right saving.”
Branca’s performance was not lost on Somers coach Lew Janavey, either.
“There was even a couple of shots (when the score was) 5-2, 6-2, that probably would have got us back into the game and he came up big,” Janavey said.
Schurr said the Indians played some zone defense against Somers, which they did not do in the first game. The Indians made a point of discussing the regular season loss to Somers before the game.
“We definitely talked about how it’s a rematch. We talked how this is an opponent that can get at us at any time,” Branca said. “These are talented players with good work ethic (who) work really hard out there and they have some good shooters. Offensively, they’re a really good team. We just took it to them from the beginning.”
Now the Indians have a date with rival Yorktown. Schurr did not mince words when asked how John Jay will approach the top-seeded Huskers in the championship game.
“We don’t know yet. They’re probably much more talented than we are on paper,” Schurr said. “I think we can play with them if we play well. If we play like we played tonight, then you never know what can happen.”
Branca was more direct, almost at a loss for words.
“After losing to them three straight times, I don’t think I can lose to them again,” Branca said.