Manhasset's Jack Lamarca (27) plays tight defense on Shoreham Wading...

Manhasset's Jack Lamarca (27) plays tight defense on Shoreham Wading River's Liam Kershis (25) in the first quarter during Long Island High School boys lacrosse Class C Championship between Manhasset and Shoreham Wading River on Saturday June 3, 2023 at Stony Brook University Credit: Bob Sorensen

Jack Lamarca and his Manhasset teammates have been waiting for this day since last year’s state championship.

The defending state champions earned the Long Island Class C boys lacrosse title in an 11-6 win over Shoreham-Wading River at Stony Brook University on Saturday, taking another step toward defending that state crown.

Manhasset (19-1) claimed its first lead with 9:16 to play as part of a six-goal fourth quarter. Jack Petersen finished with three goals and an assist, and Aidan Haggerty added two goals and an assist. Cal Girard won 17 of 20 faceoffs, including 10 in the second half.

But Manhasset’s man-to-man defense made the difference and limited the Shoreham-Wading River (14-6) attack that beat previously undefeated Mount Sinai to win the Suffolk title earlier this week.

“We don’t really care about the recognition. We just want the win, that’s all we care about,” Lamarca said. “Just going into every game knowing we have to do our job, get it done and that’s our goal every game.”

Lamarca, a senior, defended Liam Kershis, a Duke commit who scored five goals in the Wildcats’ county title win. Kershis managed an assist but did not score on Saturday.

“I told [Lamarca] pregame, you don’t have to take the ball away from [Kershis], but you have to match his athleticism,” Manhasset coach Keith Cromwell said. “Credit to Jack Lamarca. He stepped up huge today.”

Liam Gregorek scored three goals in the first quarter for Shoreham-Wading River, and his brother, Alec, finished with two goals. Jaden Galfano stopped 14 shots for the Wildcats, who led 3-1 after the first quarter and 4-3 at halftime.

“It doesn’t matter who you put on them, they’re going to make a play at the end of the day,” Manhasset defense Jack Mulholland said. “They’re going to get theirs, and that just happens in a lacrosse game. We knew that and were trying not to get frustrated with each other.

“We just had to limit them. That’s all we could do.”

Mulholland, Lamarca and the rest of Manhasset’s defense did. Manhasset outscored the Wildcats 8-2 in the second half.

Shoreham-Wading River fluently transitioned between man and zone defenses in the first half, drawing out Manhasset’s possessions and preventing the Nassau champions from finding open players around the crease.

Matt Cargiulo scored Manhasset’s first goal of the second half with 8:19 to play in the third quarter. Haggerty tied the game at six apiece with 10 minutes to play in the fourth before Petersen gave Manhasset its first lead 44 seconds later.

“They were sliding real early, so it was tough to get looks off at the beginning,” Haggerty said. “But we kept working through our offense and got open shots, just kept grinding it out and that’s when it opened up.”

Manhasset scored the final six goals of the game. Cargiulo called his group a well-conditioned, second-half team. Manhasset outscored Wantagh 7-2 in the fourth quarter of Nassau’s Class C championship to reach the Long Island final.

“That was our game plan all along,” Cargiulo said. “We wore them down in the first half, and in the second half, we were ready.”

Cromwell, Manhasset’s seventh-year head coach, said the team tries not to talk about last season, to dwell on past success.

Manhasset beat Mount Sinai 12-7 in last year’s Long Island Class C final before outscoring its non-Long Island opponents a combined 29-10 en route to the state title.

“For those juniors who are now leaders on this team, having those experiences under their belt, it shows in games like this,” Cromwell said. “And that’s what our culture is all about.”

Manhasset will play the winner of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Rye at UAlbany’s Fallon Field on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in the state semifinals.

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