Initially overcome with the raw emotion of a hard-fought championship game effort, Jack Deliberti’s focus suddenly shifted forward.
Though the moment was bleak after the Northport boys lacrosse team fell just short of capturing their first state title in 21 years, the freshman acknowledged that the future for him and the program remained bright.
Deliberti led the Tigers with three goals and Jacob Starcke added two goals as Northport fell to Baldwinsville, 10-7, in the Class A state championship at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
“I’m just going to use it as fuel for next year and the years after that,” Deliberti said. “Now I know what it takes to win the whole thing.”
Baldwinsville (Section III) won its first state title in program history with the victory. Northport concluded the season at 20-2.
Deliberti’s second goal of the day on an assist from Timothy Kirchner with 5:15 remaining cut the Baldwinsville lead to 8-6. Trey Ordway then scored to stretch the Bees’ advantage back to three with 1:54 left. Northport produced only one final goal the rest of the way by Deliberti with 35.1 seconds to go as Baldwinsville closed out the victory.
Despite the team’s unfortunate end to the season, Northport coach Larry Cerasi reiterated Deliberti’s sentiment that the experience gained on this stage will only benefit the Tigers moving forward.
“We’re obviously disappointed,” Cerasi said. “We were hoping things would’ve turned out differently for us…But we’ll learn from this and build upon it next year.”
Baldwinsville got out to a quick start with four goals in the first quarter, with Keegan Lynch jumpstarting the offense with one goal and one assist. The game entered a 30-minute lightning delay at the 4:11 mark.
Starcke said the impact of Baldwinsville’s strong opening quarter was felt throughout the match.
“We kind of just let things go in the start of the first quarter,” Starcke said. “That dug us into a hole that we couldn’t get out of. Earlier in the season we would come out flat and come back. Unfortunately today we weren’t able to do that as close as we came.”
Michael Meyer put Northport on the board with 7:11 remaining in the first half before finding Deliberti for a goal about four minutes later.
Baldwinsville responded, however, as Ryan Hollenbeck netted a goal with 1:29 left followed by Carson Dyl’s goal with 1.6 seconds on the clock, putting Northport behind 6-2 entering halftime.
Dyl recorded his third goal just 52 seconds into the third, but Starcke answered with back-to-back goals on shots across his body to cut the deficit to 7-4 with 5:02 remaining in the period. Tyler Kuprianchik’s goal moments after brought the Tigers to within two.
“No matter the situation, this team will battle,” Cerasi said. “It was just a little unfortunate at the end that we didn’t’ have enough there.”
Cerasi commended his players for the culture of success they helped produce throughout the season en route to a state championship appearance.
“I’m just incredibly proud of these guys,” Cerasi said. “To get the program back to this type of atmosphere is a credit to our leaders and seniors, and I hope that our underclassmen can continue that next season.”
Meyer also emphasized the optimism surrounding the future for Northport and its outgoing seniors.
“This really stinks but I wouldn’t rather have this experience with anyone else,” Meyer said. “We have a lot of great guys on this team and a lot of underclassmen that are going to do great things next year. Northport will be back next year and even the guys that are moving on have a great future in lacrosse ahead of them.”
By Mike Ruiz