"It's something we'd always talk about," Manhasset senior Emily Markham said, "but it was kind of a joke because we didn't think it would actually happen."
"It's been a dream and something you always strive for," junior Natalie Stefan said. "We believed it was our time, but we've learned you can't take anything for granted."
"I thought we were really good last year and we didn't make it, so you never know," sophomore Lindsey Ronbeck said. "But right now, just thinking about it, I've got butterflies."
Manhasset earned its first trip to the state tournament since 2005, beating Eastport-South Manor, 11-7, to capture the Class B Long Island girls lacrosse title Sunday at Adelphi.
Stefan scored four goals, Julia Glynn had three goals and an assist and Maddy Molinari won seven draws to lead Manhasset (14-3), which overcame a slow start. Erin Barry had three ground balls and forced two turnovers.
The Indians' theme song -- and mantra -- this season was Drake's "Started From the Bottom." Manhasset was never a lacrosse weakling, in fact, it has long been among the elite teams and won Nassau Class C titles from 2005-10. Not quite "the bottom," but it certainly had difficulty reaching the top.
"I knew we had a talented group coming into this season and it was just a matter of executing and getting the job done," Indians coach Danielle Gallagher said. "We did that. We made adjustments along the way -- we even had to make adjustments during this game -- but we did that successfully."
Manhasset will compete in the state semifinals at SUNY Cortland on Friday at noon.
"We're confident," Gallagher said. "If we can do as well as we've done so far with the challenges we've already faced, we can do very well."
The Sharks (15-5) led briefly midway through the first half after Jackie Wasilko's goal on a runner with 5:47 to go before intermission. But Glynn, with 3:33 remaining, split a double-team and scored from 4 yards to take the lead for good.
"It's been a long time since we've gotten this far," said Manhasset goalie Erin Coleman, who made eight saves. "But it was so cool to do this, in front of all our fans and the former players, and try to build a new legacy."
Dakota Mason scored three goals and Kaeli Huff and Marisa Gurello each had a goal and an assist for ESM. Samantha Giacolone was masterful in the cage with 13 saves, several of which came on close-range shots and fast breaks. Manhasset did, however, hold 6-2 attack Kristin Anderson to one goal.
“I heard she's a basketball player and I picked up basketball last year,” said Markham, a 5-10 defender, “and I basically tried to post her up. Just body her, get position and try to keep her from getting to the middle.”
Eastport-South Manor pulled within 5-4 on Mason's goal with 21:21 left, but Stefan shook off rib pain (she took a stick to the back inadvertently) and answered with 20:44 to go. The Indians never looked back.
States? "There's going to be lots of music and dancing on the ride up," Stefan said. "It's still sinking in that we've made it."