The Fordham Prep Rams beat the Iona Prep Gaels 10 - 9 in the CHSAA City Championship on Wednesday. They accomplished it like they have all season; as a team and this was the one they wanted the most. The members of the 2016 State Championship team who were on the field Wednesday will tell you the one thing they still desired was that City Championship. Fordham hadn’t taken City’s since 2013.
The Fordham Prep/Iona Prep rivalry doesn't need any added drama but this one had it with a strange weather event in the Tri-State area. The game started as scheduled on Tuesday despite a severe weather forecast but ended up finishing on Wednesday. The parents, alums, college coaches, students, and teachers who beared the weather saw another classic. The 18th one goal game since 1992 makes this rivalry a must see sporting event.
The post season now gets extremely interesting as Chaminade and St. Anthony’s are, for the first time, in the State championship mix. With the win versus Iona, Fordham has earned both a first round downstate quarterfinal bye, as well as home field advantage for the downstate semifinal versus St. Anthony’s. The game will be this Tuesday May 22nd at 4pm at Gaelic Park in the Bronx. Last year, the Rams lost to Kellenberg in the downstate semifinal by one goal. This has already been a spectacular season, let’s reward these Rams with the biggest turnout for their biggest game this season.
Ryan Gilchrist ‘18 (Crestwood) was named the Lohud Boys Lacrosse Player of the Day for his hat trick against Iona and his efforts were featured in this Lohud.com article about the win. The victory was also extra special for Coach Chris Hemsley who registered his 50th win as head coach. Congratulations to Thomas Marra ‘18 (Irvington) for notching his 50th goal of the season in the game. Coach Charlie Cipriano also got some press this week as part of a nice write up (here) on him and his Charlotte Hounds MLL teammates.
Iona Prep Recap: (W 10 - 9)
The Rams came out strong with Stephen Zupicich ‘19 (Bronxville) winning the opening face off and Jack Dougherty ‘18 (Manhattan) finding the back of the net early in the first quarter. Shortly thereafter, he notched an assist leading to Edward Madden ‘18’s (Crestwood) first goal of the game. The momentum really started to build as Thomas Marra ‘18 notched his first goal to make it 3 - 0 midway through the first quarter. Like the Bronxville game, four players for the Rams had multiple goals in this matchup. The depth of offense this entire season has been impressive.
But the winds of change started to blow, both literally and figuratively, at the end of the first quarter. Iona went on a tear themselves, forcing turnovers and transition offense. By the end of the quarter, the game was even at 3 - 3. A minute into the second quarter thunder, lightning, and tornadoes in northern Westchester suspended play until Wednesday at 4:30.
Twenty four hours later the game started again precisely where it left off; raining, windy and Iona with ball on its side of the field starting a clear. Iona retained the momentum they had the day before by marching down the field and scoring, taking the lead 4 - 3 early in the second quarter. Thomas Marra ‘18 and Jack Dougherty ‘18 both answered to give the Rams the lead again at 5 - 4. Fordham started to take the momentum back heading into halftime with a 7 - 5 lead.
The defense came out of half time playing ferociously by holding off multiple possessions by the Gaels. Stephen Zupicich ‘18 was a beast the entire game and was just getting started early in the second half. Midway through the third quarter, James Murray ‘18 (Larchmont) fed Carson Brown ‘18 (Manhattan) on the top of the crease for a long pole score.
Iona then made a couple of mental errors; first they went man down and then ten seconds into the penalty went man down for a two minute unreleasable. During the double man up for Fordham the soggy weather took its toll as the Rams turned the ball over. This was an enormous momentum change. The Gaels took advantage of this swing and charged to an 8 - 8 tie at the end of the third quarter. Rams vs Gaels, it’s always intense.
The fourth quarter began with Fordham somewhat on the ropes, but Ryan Gilchrist ‘18 and Stephen Zupicich ‘19 grabbed the offense and defense, respectively, and put them on their backs. Gilchrist had been on and off the DL all season and it was crucial to get him for the full 48 minutes. He was an ironman the entire game by taking massive hits from a chippy Iona defense but coming through them and putting up three goals. On the other side of the field, Zupicich was stripping Iona middies like a pickpocket on Seventh Avenue. Zupicich’s turnover creation was the difference in this game - his stick work was an amazing thing to witness.
But this is an Iona/Fordham game so you know it has to go to the wire. The Rams had a 10 - 8 lead with two minutes to go but the refs put the Rams into the box in these last two minutes. Iona created a turnover and then dropped one in from the crease to make it 10 - 9 with 55 seconds to go. Stephen Zupicich ‘19 again won the faceoff but Iona came up with another turnover. The Gaels marched down the field and were stymied with a key save from James Corasaniti ‘18 (Manhattan) with 11 seconds to go. RAMS WIN!!! Helmets, sticks, gloves and water bottles littered the field as the student fans rushed to celebrate with their classmates.
Stat Line: Madden 2G/2A, Gilchrist 3G, Marra 2G/1A, Dougherty 2G/1A, Brown 1G, Murray 1A