It was an instant classic, but it took a while to develop. Manhasset used a nine-goal second half to erase a six-goal deficit and defeated Garden City, 13-12, in the Nassau Class B girls lacrosse championship game Thursday at Adelphi.
Manhasset (15-2) will face Eastport-South Manor in the Long Island Class B final at 5 p.m. Saturday at Adelphi.
After a topsy-turvy second half, Emma LoPinto put Manhasset ahead for good, maneuvering around the net and falling away as she scored with 1:27 left in the game to break a 12-12 tie. LoPinto led the Indians with six goals and two assists. Teammate Maria Themelis scored three times.
“Our coach [Meghan Clarke] said, 'If they come out on you, take them to the goal,’ ” LoPinto said of her tiebreaking score. “She came out, I circled around the crease, and it went in.”
Themelis tied the score at 12 with 4:17 left in the second half.
“During practice, we train a lot for moments like these,” Themelis said. “When we’re down one, we set up plays for the attack to tie it up. We’re a very smart team when it comes to big situations like this. We did a great job moving the ball. My teammate [Kelly Trotta] was being doubled, so she passed it out to me and then I made a quick move. I saw [the defender] was playing toward one side, so I rolled the other way. I had an open righty shot, and I shot it.”
Themelis also scored a big goal late in the first half, though that wasn't apparent at the time. After Garden City pulled ahead 8-2 with 2:21 left in the first, Themelis and LoPinto scored in the final minute to begin the comeback. Themelis’ goal with 4.5 seconds left before the break cut the Trojans' lead to 8-4.
“Lacrosse is a game of runs,” Themelis said. “They went on runs, and we went on runs. Fortunately, we were able to stop the bleeding. I think that was one of the biggest moments of the game.”
Themelis scored again with 23:46 left in the game, cutting the Garden City lead to 8-5. A six-goal run for the Indians culminated in LoPinto's score with 20:34 left to tie it at 8.
Even down 8-2, LoPinto said her confidence never wavered.
“We were struggling on the draws, but Caroline Mondiello [six draw controls] stepped up,” LoPinto said. “We started winning draws. That led up to possessions and that led us to goals.”