Manhasset teammates celebrate their 13-5 win over Westhill in the...

Manhasset teammates celebrate their 13-5 win over Westhill in the NYSPHSAA boys lacrosse Class C state championship at Shuart Stadium on Saturday, June 11, 2022. Credit: James Escher

The final buzzer signaled a different kind of regular-season loss for the Manhasset boys lacrosse team.

This one, a 17-8 defeat against Chaminade on May 7, was the third in four games for a team that was undefeated before the slump. Though still in prime position to contend at 8-3, the players acknowledged that something had to dramatically change.

“We took a few tough losses during the regular season,” Matt Perfetto said moments after scoring three goals and assisting on another in helping lead Manhasset to a 13-5 win over Westhill (Section III) in the Class C state final at Hofstra’s James M. Shuart Stadium on June 11. “After those losses we got together and talked about it, and said, ‘We’re not going to win anything if we don’t come together as a team.’

“And after that we broke down every huddle with ‘Us!’ to just signify that we were together. Ever since then, everything’s changed for us.”

The slide containing Manhasset’s only losses this season began with a 13-11 loss to Darien (Connecticut) on April 23. The team rebounded three days later with a victory over South Side, but suffered back-to-back losses in its ensuing matches to Garden City and Chaminade.

Joey Terenzi, who also recorded three goals and one assist in the state final, originated the team’s season-changing mantra.

“I just thought that our mentality was drifting and that we needed to focus more on each other,” Terenzi said. “Everyone needed to buy in to win. I thought it was for the better of the team to keep reminding everyone that it was about us.”

For a group that had championship aspirations at every level, the adversity provided a much-needed moment of self-reflection and opportunity for growth.

From that point forward, Manhasset not only began to stack up the wins, but also did so in dominant fashion en route to its first state title since 2010 and fifth in program history. Liam Connor led the way against Westhill with five goals.

“It’s still an unbelievable feeling for all of us,” Connor said. “It’s amazing that this group of guys was able to put a banner up and I know it’s a feeling that we’ll never forget.”

Manhasset coach Keith Cromwell recalls those trying times quite fondly now.

“Those were great teams and tough losses,” Cromwell said. “I think it kind of forced us to look at everything and our entire team midway through the season. Looking back on it, it was perfect timing.”

Manhasset also began employing some personnel adjustments. The biggest, Cromwell said, was transitioning Terenzi from midfield to attack.

“Joey is so electric and so good in between the lines,” Cromwell said. “Moving him to attack brought us a little more speed to that position and I thought it freed up some of our guys there to be even more productive.”

Cromwell noted how a major contributor emerged in Jack Petersen as a result of Terenzi’s position change. Petersen was a key playmaker with two goals and six assists in the state championship.

“I think the best part of it was how it allowed us to showcase Jack,” Cromwell said. “He had a phenomenal second half of the year and playoff run and took on that number one role as a midfielder.”

Terenzi recalled another motto that ultimately helped secure Manhasset’s state title: “Coach always tells us and I always say, ‘You don’t learn a lot from winning.'"

But they sure learned a lot about themselves from losing.

ROAD TO THE TITLE


Nassau Class C Playoffs — Seeded No. 1
Quarterfinal: Def. No. 8 Floral Park, 15-4
Semifinal: Def. No. 5 Wantagh, 15-4
Final: Def. No. 3 South Side, 14-4


Long Island Class C Championship
Def. Mount Sinai, 12-7

Class C State Playoffs
Semifinal: Def. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 16-5
Final: Def. Westhill, 13-5

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