As the Manhasset boys lacrosse team entered Saturday night with an opportunity to win the program’s first state title since 2010, coach Keith Cromwell’s message was the same as it had been for the duration of their postseason run.
“We talked about just being us,” Cromwell said. “We were a funny group throughout the year with a lot of highs and lows, but we kind of learned who we were along the way and we were us. That’s been our motto the last couple of weeks here.”
The message certainly resonated, as Manhasset defeated Westhill, 13-5, to win the Class C state title at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium.
Liam Connor led the way with five goals, while Matt Perfetto and Joey Terenzi added three goals and one assist apiece.
“I’m just so happy to be able to do this with these guys,” Connor said. “We’ve been working toward this and to be able to say that we’re state champions is something that I’ll never forget.”
Manhasset (17-3) set the tone in the early going, outscoring Westhill 4-0 in the opening quarter. Perfetto began the spurt in style, finishing in transition on an assist from Jack Petersen in transition with a behind-the-back goal. Connor followed up with back-back goals over the next four minutes, and Petersen capped off the run with a goal assisted by Joey Terenzi.
“Mahasset’s so big on lacrosse and to be able to do this for the community is huge,” Perfetto said. “We’ve had them behind us for those past 12 years and to get it done here now is amazing.”
Terenzi responded to Westhill’s first goal in the second quarter with one of his own to stretch the Manhasset lead back to four with 9:56 remaining in the first half. He did just the same about three minutes later with another goal following Westhill’s second.
Westhill found the net again with about a minute to go in the half, but Petersen connected with Connor with 3.8 seconds left to give Manhasset a 7-3 advantage entering halftime.
Perfetto netted a pair of goals in the third, stretching the Manhasset lead to 10-4. Connor also converted his fourth goal of the game in the period.
Manhasset then scored three of the final four goals in the fourth to secure the title.
Connor said the team’s confidence in reaching the pinnacle for the first time in over a decade reached a new level recently.
“We knew all along that we had such a talented group that could get this done,” Connor said. “The second the playoffs started it gave us new life and we knew we weren’t going to look back.”
“To bring one back to Manhasset in 2022,” Cromwell said. “Couldn’t ask for anything better.”