Manhasset boys lacrosse nabs second straight state title
A brief rain shower began around the moment time expired on Manhasset's 19-6 win over Corning East Saturday. "I love the rain!" one player yelled on the turf field at Stony Brook's LaValle Stadium amid the celebration of the Indians' state Class C boys lacrosse final victory.
It was their second state championship in as many seasons - "The first team in Manhasset history to do that," Drew Belinsky correctly noted - and it was completed with a dominating performance.
Four players - Belinsky, Pat Moroney, Chris Cook and Matt Tompkins - had hat tricks and the defense allowed no more than two goals in any quarter.
The Indians (20-0) extended their win streak to 36 games, a run that dates to April of 2009. After graduating 21 seniors from last year's team, this year's group surpassed expectations.
"It was supposed to be a rebuilding year," junior goaltender Frank Morelli said. "We were all nervous because we were trying to live up to expectations, but nobody really expected this. A perfect season."
The team motto agreed upon at the start of the season - 'All In' - was reflective of the attitude the group thought it needed, and how it performed.
Nine players scored. Quinn Moroney added two goals and three assists, Harry Kucharczyk had two goals and faceoff specialist Ricky Buhr won 18 of 23 draws. The Indians took 39 shots with 31 of them landing on goal.
The offense broke open the game with four goals in 1:44 late in the first quarter and early in the second. It was tied at 2 late in the first when Ryan Lawler forced a turnover near midfield and long-stick defender Kevin Coleman fired a 40-yard pass to Quinn Moroney in front of the crease for a man-down goal.
Belinsky then scored unassisted and Cook scored from 15 yards on a Brian Petracca pass. Tompkins scored low on a sprint from behind the cage to make it 6-2 just 20 seconds into the second quarter.
"We took a little while to get into the flow of things but once we did, we didn't stop," Pat Moroney said. "You can't top this. We left our legacy last year with our first one and we left even more today. It's a whole new team. A bunch of new starters but everyone stepped up. Everyone played together. It's phenomenal."
Moroney scored 1:28 before the half to put Manhasset up 9-3 and scored as time expired in the third quarter to make it 13-5. The defense forced Morelli to make only four saves. Devin Grimaldi led Corning East (17-5) with two goals.
"We were all over it today, pressuring all over the field," sophomore defenseman Rob Duvnjak said. "We pretty much shut them down."
After the game, players talked about how rewarding it was to win back-to-back state titles; about practicing in sweatpants and sweatshirts nearly every day this season - unless there was a state mandated heat warning in effect - to condition for the playoffs. That included an 80-degree day earlier this month before the county title game against Cold Spring Harbor.
"Even though it was so incredibly hot and miserable we knew it was going to pay off," Buhr said.
"It's awesome," Belinsky said. "It feels like I'm in paradise right now. Nothing is better."