The Manhasset girls lacrosse team had to wait two years to continue their championship streak. The postgame celebration had been on their minds since last March and the players weren’t going to let an opportunity slip away.
Even as Wantagh climbed back in the second half, Manhasset remembered back to last year.
"Halftime we kind of let it go," senior Grace Gately said. "But we figured we worked so hard for this and we deserved this win and we all came together for this."
Top-seeded Manhasset held on to defeat No. 2 Wantagh, 9-8, in the girls lacrosse Nassau Class C final at Bethpage High School Thursday. It’s Manhasset’s third straight county title, after winning the Nassau Class B crown in 2018 and 2019.
"This has always been in the back of our minds since last year was canceled," senior Emma LoPinto said. "Just getting to this game is something really special and to win it is even better."
Manhasset (13-2) plays Bayport-Blue Point (14-0) in the Long Island Class C championship at Bethpage High School at 2 p.m. Thursday.
Manhasset took a 7-3 lead into halftime after scoring six of the final seven goals of the opening half.
Alexis Morton had three goals and Gately and LoPinto each added two goals in the win. Caitlin Barrett added a goal and an assist and Finley Collins had six saves for Manhasset.
Wantagh (12-4) went on a 4-0 scoring run midway through the second half, cutting Manhasset’s lead to 8-7. Ashley Newman struck next for Manhasset, but Wantagh’s Madison Taylor answered with her third goal of the game 42 seconds later. Defense and possession-based offense dictated the final nine minutes, 17 seconds of the game.
"The girls' motto this year is ‘held high,’ so it’s definitely something they’ve achieved during all this," Manhasset coach Meghan Clarke said. "They’ve kept their heads held high and we came out victorious today."
Wantagh held possession with less than two minutes remaining in the second half, but Nicole Giannakopoulos, a freshman, forced a tough shot with strong defense to help secure the win.
"She lives for those moments," LoPinto said. "And I think it really showed in this game and forcing a tough last shot to help us win the county championship."
But Manhasset isn’t satisfied yet. And next up could prove to be its toughest challenge yet against an undefeated Bayport-Blue Point team.
"Even though there’s no states, I feel like this is our final chance, as seniors, to just come together one last time," Gately said. "And I think we’ve worked so hard all season that we definitely deserve it."