By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/13/14
Penncrest senior attackman Will Manganiello has been named a Phillylacrosse.com Co-Player of the Year for 2014.
Manganiello led Penncrest to its first Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association championship and an undefeated Central League title in 2014, scoring a Southeast-PA high 83 goals. He was especially clutch in the state playoffs when he scored 16 times, including three in a 6-5 quarterfinal win over La Salle and five against Avon Grove in the scintillating 12-7 championship victory.
A Delaware signee, Manganiello helped the Lions finish 25-1 and close as the No. 21 team by Warrior/TopLaxRecrits.com.
“This year, everyone from the last one on the bench to the starting lineup, pushed each other,” said Manganiello. “We were a heavy senior oriented team and most of us seniors have been together since fifth or sixth grade. To us, winning a state championship was incredible. It meant the world to us.”
Manganiello said Penncrest turned it up a notch in the state final after seeing Avon Grove seize a quick 2-0 lead.
“We knew they were going to be a great team and the best team we faced all year,” he said. “When they got up 2-0, we didn’t put our heads down. When we started scoring, the defense began to shut everyone down and Dylan (Protesto) was winning the face-offs. Everyone had the greatest game of their lives.”
Manganiello, a US Lacrosse All-American, sparked the victory with three goals in the second period and two more in the third to five Penncrest a 7-3 lead. One of his goals was a memorable behind-the-back, no-look goal.
“I didn’t want our last game to be a loss. We had to go out fighting and I knew if I kept scoring it would lift everyone’s confidence,” he said. “As a senior and a captain, my role to lift the team up. Then, everyone started scoring.”
Penncrest coach Wayne Matsinger said Manganiello – who was also named All-American in 2013 – improved drastically in 2014 and allowed others to excel by drawing team defenses his way.
“He opened up a ton of opportunities for us because defenses were keying on him,” said Matsinger. “We had so many weapons on any given day. In the championship game, Manganiello (took over) the offense for a while and they focused on him and we picked them apart.
“he was really focused and he elevated his game so much this year. He was one of the hardest workers in the off-season conditioning program and and in my opinion he was the hardest riding attackman in Pennsylvania. He would get two goals a game off his rides.”
Also named Co-Player of the Year:
Greg Pelton, defenseman, Malvern Prep
High Honorable Mention
Tanner Peck, attackman, Avon Grove
Dylan Protesto, FO/midfield, Penncrest