When Wantagh needed the ball, Cal Girard took it and ran.
The Manhasset faceoff specialist won 20 of the 23 faceoffs he lined up for in No. 1 Manhasset’s 15-9 win over No. 2 Wantagh in the Nassau Class C boys lacrosse championship at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium on Wednesday.
Girard, who earned most valuable player recognition, won the first seven faceoffs of the fourth quarter as Manhasset clung to a one-goal lead. Manhasset, the defending Class C state champion, earned its third consecutive county title.
“There’s definitely always a little bit of pressure. You can’t win without the ball,” Girard said. “I was definitely more locked in and ready to go.”
Jack Petersen scored five goals for Manhasset (18-1), including four in the second half. Wantagh (13-6) led 3-2 after the first quarter and trailed 8-7 after the third before Manhasset scored seven goals in the fourth quarter.
“It’s amazing that this is kind of becoming normal to us, that we can get here and look forward,” Petersen said. “We can trust in ourselves and our abilities, and even when we’re down, we just have to relax and get back to what we’re doing, and we’ll be fine.”
Matt Im stopped seven shots for Manhasset, including five in the first half, as Wantagh jockeyed for the lead.
Kyle Conklin made nine saves, and Jake Martini scored three goals for Wantagh. Manhasset earned its first three-goal lead with 10:10 left in the fourth quarter following a goal from Matt Cargiulo.
“Wantagh is a heck of a team, well coached, tough kids, explosive on the offensive side,” Manhasset coach Keith Cromwell said. “We had to earn a victory today, it wasn’t easy by any means, and that’s a credit to them.”
But Manhasset’s experienced senior leadership made the difference. Cargiulo finished with a goal and four assists, Liam Connor added four goals and two assists and Aidan Haggerty scored twice with three assists.
Manhasset shut out Wantagh in the second quarter and only allowed two goals in the fourth.
“My defense really gave me good looks at the ball,” Im said. “Not letting too many inside shots, all of the outside shots that I can see and get to.”
Manhasset will face Shoreham-Wading River in the Class C Long Island Championship at Stony Brook University’s LaValle Stadium on Saturday at 10 a.m.
“I thought we played overall pretty good, but we can’t be satisfied right now,” Girard said. “The jobs not finished. We have a really good team on Saturday, we just gotta focus on that.”