CORTLAND, N.Y. - The dream simply was deferred.
That was the sentiment in the Manhasset huddle as the Indians licked their wounds shortly after Friday's 9-8 loss to Brighton in a state Class B girls lacrosse semifinal.
There were tears, certainly, given the Indians' disappointment after a promising season fell short. Still, the silver lining for this team is easily found in the 10s and 11s that litter its printed roster.
"I think they can win it all next season," senior Sarah Barcia said. "This junior class is already amazing, and they're going to be great leaders, and we have so much talent in the sophomore group. We started something special and I know they're going to finish it."
But capping a dizzying final stretch, Brighton's Kelzi VanAtta cut through a gap in Manhasset's zone and scored the winner with 3:42 left at SUNY Cortland.
Manhasset sophomore Lindsey Ronbeck had tied it 30 seconds earlier, scoring from 5 yards on a fast break.
"We won't hang our heads," Indians coach Danielle Gallagher said. "I feel for our seniors and it's a tough way to end it, but we know we accomplished a lot. There's a lot to be proud of."
Indeed. The Indians (16-4) surged through the regular season, earned a No. 5 national ranking and won its first Long Island championship since 2005. Manhasset also toppled Garden City, winner of a record seven consecutive state Class B titles.
The Indians will lose 10 seniors, but a large portion of their core is among the 13 juniors -- including Julia Glynn and Natalie Stefan -- and five sophomores. Freshman midfielder Erin Barry was named to the all-tournament team.
But "little mistakes added up," Gallagher said.
After going ahead, the Barons won the ensuing draw. Manhasset forced a turnover but the Indians, on attack, were stripped of the ball inside the arc. With good spacing and smart passes, the Barons played keep-away during the final 2:42.
Meaghan Bowen scored three goals and Lauren Smolensky added a goal and three assists for Brighton (18-3). Goalie Sam Tullio made five of her 12 saves late and refused to allow Manhasset to get ahead.
Brighton, the last upstate team to win a Class B title (2005), will face Syracuse Christian Brothers Academy in the final Saturday.
"We give props to Long Island because they've done it so well and for so long," VanAtta said.
Kellen D'Alleva gave Manhasset a 4-3 lead 7:47 before the half, but Brighton responded with a 3-0 run. Barcia (two goals) tied it at 6 before Emilie Goldman answered. Maddy Molinari tied it at 7 for Manhasset, then Bowen retook the lead with 8:37 left.
Erin Coleman made two saves and Kelsey Quackenbush had one for the Indians."It hurts, and we wanted it really badly this year for these seniors," Glynn said. "But for everyone returning, we believe we'll come back and get this done. We came that close, so we all know we can do it."