Manhasset girls lacrosse falls just short in try for 6th straight county crown

Manhasset girls lacrosse falls just short in try for 6th straight county crown
Manhasset girls lacrosse sophomore Harper Lambert (in white) looks to make a move during the team's semifinal win over North Shore. Photo credit: Kristin Perfetto

The powerful scent of déjà vu permeated Motomed Field at Adelphi University Thursday afternoon.

Manhasset girls lacrosse coach Jackie Williams felt it. So did senior defender Maddy Chun. Many of the spectators surely experienced it as well.

For the second year in a row, Manhasset was down big near the end of a county championship game. And for the second year in a row, a miraculous comeback was about to be complete.

In 2023,  ‘Set was down 12-9 with six minutes to go against North Shore before rallying to tie in the final minute and winning in overtime, 13-12. That win gave the best lacrosse program in Nassau a fifth straight county crown.

And now, here, one year later, history was repeating itself. In a game played over two days due to a lightning storm stopping play midway through the third quarter Wednesday night, Manhasset had again dug itself a big hole.

This time it was Wantagh, knocked out of the playoffs by Manhasset three straight years, that had the major upper hand. The Warriors led 11-7 with five minutes to go, and it looked like Manhasset’s dominant streak in Class C would end.

Yet here it came, the comeback that its fans had been waiting for.

Holly Newman ripped a high shot into the twine to make it 11-8, with 4:38 left. Then Newman scored again off a draw-control win by Lauren Perfetto, making it 11-9. Then fellow senior Shea Panzik scored a museum-quality goal, racing through the Wantagh defense and blasting a low shot past goalie Amanda Copppola, making the score 11-10 with 1:43 to go.

It was all setting up so perfectly, even more so when Wantagh was called for a penalty with 82 seconds remaining, giving Manhasset an extra-man chance and a golden opportunity to tie the game.

“I felt like it was all set up to be a repeat of last year,” Chun said afterward. “At least, I was trying to feel that.”

With its fans roaring, though, the comeback fell just short.

Manhasset committed a turnover on a pass with about:40 left, and Wantagh ran out the clock and won the county title, 11-10.

For Manhasset, the deficits it had to erase all game were just too much to overcome.

“It seems like we keep getting in these situations where the girls start off slow and dig themselves a hole, and it takes an (end of) quarter speech or a halftime speech to get them going,” Williams said. “We have come back a lot this year, but it’s hard to keep digging out.”

Manhasset (11-6) started slowly Wednesday night, falling behind 7-2 at halftime as Wantagh repeatedly ran set plays through the Manhasset defense to get open looks.

“We had a lot of miscommunications, honestly,” Chun said. “They had a really good two-man game down low, setting picks, and there were things we didn’t recognize in time to stop them.”

Manhasset had beaten Wantagh 11-10 earlier this season, so when a comeback started midway through the third quarter, all seemed OK. Manhasset scored three goals in the span of 59 seconds to cut the deficit to 7-5.

But that’s when Mother Nature stepped in; thunder and lightning began, and the game was stopped with 6:56 left in the third.

The delay annoyed Williams and Manhasset, who were already bothered that the original game start time of 6 p.m. was moved back two hours a few days earlier to accommodate Wantagh parents who wanted to watch their school’s boys LIC played earlier that day.

“It definitely stopped our momentum, but we told the girls we had to re-focus and be ready to come out strong (Thursday),” Williams said.

Unfortunately, the Warriors again got the jump, stretching its lead to 11-7 before the big Manhasset comeback.

Newman led Manhasset with three goals, while Perfetto, Nicole Giannakopoulos and Harper Lambert each scored twice.

The game was a tough way to end their careers for the Manhasset seniors.

“Super proud of our group and how hard we fought all year,” Chun said. “I have total confidence the young players who were so great this year will be back here next year and doing great things.”


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