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Photo courtesy of Axcess Lacrosse.

Sure, it’s a new year and last year’s results don’t mean anything this time around. Despite that, though, it sure felt like a lot of people forgot that Manhasset‘s pretty darn good.

The Indians took home last year’s New York Class C state title, handing Mount Sinai its lone loss along the way in the Long Island championship game. After that, they lost a terrific senior class, one that included current Virginia freshman Joey Terenzi (Long Island Express) and current Air Force freshman Hunter Panzik, among others.


So it wasn’t insane to think that Manhasset might momentarily take a step back. Casting the Indians completely aside, though, would have been foolish. They’ve shown that this year’s team isn’t all too keen on the idea of relinquishing its hardware from a season ago. Saturday, they emphatically fired a shot across the bow, hammering perennial Connecticut state title contender Darien, 11-2.

Manhasset Heating Up

That came on the heels of the Blue Wave knocking off previously unbeaten Brunswick (Conn.). The transitive property is entirely useless in sports, particularly high school sports, but making light work of a team that handled a team that had been in the mix to be the top team in the land made a statement.

“I think people did assume that we’d take a step back and that we wouldn’t be where we were last year,” junior midfielder Mikey Mondiello said. “I think that win over Darien opened everyone’s eyes. I saw kids from St. Anthony’s and Garden City at the game. They all wanted to watch that game. I think beating Darien by that much got us some credit and got us noticed by a lot of people.”

The Indians make an appearance at No. 13 in the first NLF high school rankings of the season. Manhasset is one of five Long Island teams, including No. 1 St. Anthony’s, in the rankings. The Indians don’t play the Friars this year, but they’ll have an opportunity for the other top 10 program from the Island as they play No. 8 Chaminade on May 13 in the annual Reg’s Rock game.

Mondiello Adding More Offense to His Game

They’ve had to replace some impressive individual pieces from the team that hoisted the state championship trophy at Hofstra last June. Mondiello’s been one of the players that’s seized a much bigger role than he had a season ago. Traditionally better-known as a two-way midfielder who gets up and down the field, the Team 91 Long Island Wolfpack middie pocketed a hat trick against the Blue Wave. Manhasset has a diverse offense that puts stress on a defense in many different ways, and Mondiello’s emergence as a more-than-capable offensive threat is just another matchup for defenses to worry about.

“It was really exciting because everyone kept telling me how great I played against Darien,” Mondiello said with a laugh. “I feel like I’ve established myself as a starter this year with the work that I’ve put in. On the Wolfpack, Coach (JeffAiello wants me to play defense as well. For Manhasset, we have really strong D-middies in James Lapina and PJ Flood, so the coaches would rather have me come off the field and let them handle the defense.”

Manhasset knew coming into the season that it would have one of the country’s best faceoff men in Duke commit Cal Girard at the dot. The four-star senior has delivered, as have middies like Matt Cargiulo and Harvard commit Jack Petersen. Finding more offense out of Mondiello has been a boost, and the Indians have their sights set on going back to back this spring.

“We feel like all of the attention was directed at other teams,” said Mondiello, a 4.32 student who wants to major in business or engineering. “We’re trying to win another one.”

NLF High School Top 25

No. 1 St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) (6-0)

The Friars handled New Jersey power Delbarton, 17-7, on the strength of four goals and four assists from NLF No. 3 senior Owen Duffy. The Team 91 Long Island product headed to North Carolina has been unguardable this year, racking up 41 points in six games and never collecting fewer than five points.

Earlier last week, St. Anthony’s handed Philly titan Malvern Prep its fourth straight loss, 14-8, as Duffy had six points, senior Harvard commit Jack Speidell (Team 91 LI) added three goals and an assist and fellow Crimson-bound Team 91 product Jackson Greene chipped in two goals and a helper. The Friars travel to No. 9 St. John’s (D.C.) on Thursday in a rematch of last year’s No. 1 vs. No. 2 battle, a convincing Cadets win.

No. 2 McDonogh (Md.) (8-0)

The Eagles and Culver are basically a wash here, but McDonogh gets the slight edge due to the goose egg in the loss column and a pair of top-12 wins over Haverford School (Pa.) and Boys’ Latin (Md.). Five-star sophomore Brendan Millon (Team 91 Maryland) continued his fantastic season with five goals and two assists as McDonogh held off the Lakers’ furious comeback. Check out the full game highlights from Eric Bowden right here. Junior four-star Georgetown commit Max Allen (Team 91 Maryland) had a strong day on the back end to help slow down an explosive Boys’ Latin offense.

No. 3 Culver (Ind.) (11-1)

Bad time to be a Midwest team as the Eagles finished their East Coast swing and are back to feasting on their local competition. Culver outscored a pair of opponents, 51-4, to extend its winning streak to four games. A pair of rivalry games loom in the next two weeks with Western Reserve (Ohio) and No. 5 Hill Academy (Ont.) on the docket. The Eagles have been very strong at the faceoff dot with junior Dartmouth commit Spencer Reagan (West Coast Starz) winning 81 percent of his draws and his tag team partner, four-star sophomore Tay Rodriguez (SweetLax Florida) checking in at 77 percent.

No. 4 Brunswick (Conn.) (5-1)

Connecticut public powerhouse Darien upended the Bruins’ dreams of an undefeated season when four-star junior Brady Pokorny (Eclipse / Notre Dame) scored from way out to beat the buzzer. The Blue Wave is always a legitimate threat, but the upset sent shockwaves through high school lacrosse.

Prior to that, Brunswick looked like a well-oiled machine, coming from behind to knock off a talented Malvern Prep (Pa.) team. NLF No. 2 senior Leo Hoffman (Team 91 Long Island / Penn) had five points in that one, while four-star senior Andrew Greenspan (Prime Time / Notre Dame) controlled the faceoff stripe. Brunswick and No. 6 Lawrenceville (N.J.) square off tomorrow in a rematch of last year’s Prep Nationals championship game.

No. 5 Hill Academy (Ont.) (6-0)

Armed with two top-20 wins already, Hill’s going to have every opportunity to finish as the top team in the rankings with its upcoming schedule. A date with No. 22 Taft tomorrow is the first of those opportunities.

No. 6 Lawrenceville (N.J.) (8-1)

The Big Red rolled to a pair of very comfortable wins, including a 24-6 rout of rival Hun School (N.J.). Four-star senior Hunter Chauvette (SweetLax / Yale) and junior Chris Matia (Crabs / Providence) each rang up six goals and five assists to headline the offense. Lawrenceville has a huge showdown with No. 4 Brunswick (Conn.) tomorrow.

No. 7 Salisbury (Conn.) (4-0)

Salisbury’s offense has been humming, scoring 62 goals in its first four games. Four-star senior Trey Deere (SweetLax / Syracuse) and Cornell-bound PG Ryan Goldstein have orchestrated the explosiveness offense. Another Big Red commit, Jaxon Smartand Lehigh commit Luke Winkler (Eclipse) have spearheaded the midfield unit. Brown verbal Brady O’Sullivan leads the defense. The Knights’ schedule is heavy on the back end, but road trips to Trinity-Pawling and Avon Old Farms will put them to the test this week.

No. 8 Chaminade (N.Y.) (4-1)

There’s a daunting three-game stretch for the Flyers this week that includes St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.)Darien (Conn.) and Fairfield Prep (Conn.). Chaminade will find out a lot about itself in those five days. Gavin Creo (Long Island Express / Richmond) highlighted a 14-5 win over Yorktown (N.Y.) with a goal and three assists. Five-star sophomore Connor Kuttin (Long Island Express)Gary Correa (Long Island Express / Stony Brook) and Brendan Reilly (Amherst) each chipped in two goals and an assist.

No. 9 St. John’s (D.C.) (7-2)

The Cadets have racked up six straight wins after a two-game losing skid early on. The Heights was the latest victim as the Cadets rolled to an 18-6 win. Senior four-star Michigan signee Jackie Weller (MadLax) dominated, going 15-for-16 with a hat trick and a dozen ground balls. He was equally dominant in a big win over Episcopal Academy (Pa.). Sophomore Charlie Ball (MadLax) popped off for five goals and an assist against the Churchmen. Can St. John’s beat St. Anthony’s for the second time?

No. 10 Haverford School (Pa.) (4-2)

The Fords’ early schedule was no walk in the park, as the Fords now have a pair of top-20 wins and a pair of top-6 losses. That’s not easy, but it should serve them well as they open Inter-Ac play today with archrival Malvern Prep. Four-star junior Aydan DiRocco (Navy) fired home four goals and doled out an assist in a 17-6 win over Hill School (Pa.). DiRocco’s older brother and Army commit, Ryan, paired three goals with three assists and Brady O’Kane (Delaware) had three goals and two helpers.

Rounding Out the Top 25

11. Belmont Hill (Mass.)
12. Boys’ Latin (Md.)
13. Manhasset (N.Y.)
14. Georgetown Prep (Md.)
15. Mount Sinai (N.Y.)
16. Garden City (N.Y.)
17. Radnor (Pa.)
18. Malvern Prep (Pa.)
19. Loyola Blakefield (Md.)
20. Academy of the New Church (Pa.)
21. St. Mary’s (Md.)
22. Taft (Conn.)
23. Deerfield (Mass.)
24. Darien (Conn.)
25. Salesianum (Del.)