When it was all over Wednesday night, Babylon senior Nick Santorelli stared at the ground with his hands on his knees in a crouched position as he stood at midfield.
Losing 13-7 to Bronxville in a boys lacrosse state Class C semifinal at Hofstra wasn't the way he envisioned ending his spectacular four-year varsity career. In the eyes of coach John Greaney, however, Santorelli resurrected the program.
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"He's unbelievable," coach John Greaney said. "He single-handedly did that, I think along with the seniors, but he deserves to be noted specifically. He resurrected this program. He really has. That's how good of a player he is. I wouldn't trade that kid for any other kid on Long Island. That's how much he means to this program."
Ray Wardell had three goals and two assists, Brian Boehm scored twice and Santorelli added two goals and one assist, but Babylon had no answer for Bronxville's Henry Grass, who had a game-high five goals. Bronxville (17-6) will play Cazenovia at 4 p.m. Saturday at Hofstra. Babylon finished 11-8.
"A state championship is something a kid dreams about," said Wardell, who finished the season with 36 goals and 19 assists. "That was something we dreamed about and talked about since forever and to come this close and yet so far, I mean, you want it to end differently, but this is how it ended."
Still, behind Santorelli, who amassed 57 goals and 49 assists this season, Babylon enjoyed a historic run.
Greaney also credited a lot of the team's success, not only this year but last season as well, to seniors such as goalie Matt Pinto, Luke Zappia, Eric Schweitzer, Jake Carlock, Ross Lapides, Austin Rosenberg and Wardell. It was a group that knew what winning felt like. There were 18 players on the lacrosse team who were part of the Panthers' football Long Island Class IV championship squad last November.
"Nick and this group of seniors really led us these years because we went from barely having a JV team three years ago," Greaney said, "to now going to the playoffs last year for the first time in six or seven years to winning a Long Island championship."
And that was something the Panthers had never accomplished.