Garden City's top-ranked varsity boys lacrosse team defeated Long Beach Wednesday night to advance to the Nassau County Class B finals, where they will face Wantagh.
The Trojans beat the Marines, 15-7, during an action-packed semi final match at Hofstra University's Shuart Stadium. Long Beach's Joe Radin (#7) scored the first goal of the game within the first minute and a half, but Garden City's Liam Kennedy retaliated, scoring the first of his four goals to tie it up. Then, the Trojans took the lead off a shot from senior midfielder Rob Savage (#9) with an assist from Kennedy, but this time the Marines fired back with a goal from senior attacker Connor Sofield (#12) to make it a 2-2 game.
After a timeout by Garden City, the Trojans took back the lead as Justin Guterding (#1), who had a total of three goals for the day, fired a shot past the Long Beach goaltender, but the Marines quickly answered back to keep the game close at 3-3.
With less than 7 minutes remaining in the first half, Garden City staged a rally as senior Devin Dwyer (#2), Kennedy and Guterding each scored to bolster the Trojans lead to 6-3. Marines midfielder James Forkin (#2) cut GC's lead down to only 2 points, but in the final 13 seconds, Guterding scored again, this time it was Savage who assisted him.
Although his team was leading 7-4 at the half, Garden City head coach Steve Finnel told Patch "it's not over by any means."
Our guess is he may have told his boys the same thing in the locker room, because they came out and delivered a stellar performance in the third quarter, scoring four goals off the sticks of Captain Patric Berkery and Kennedy, and held Long Beach to only one, which Sofield scored minutes after being treated for an injury on the field.
"We went on a real good run in the third quarter ... the momentum had completely shifted," Finnell said.
They repeated this performance in the fourth quarter, again scoring four goals - one each from Dwyer, Berkery, Guterding and senior midfielder P.J. McGovern - and only allowing the Marines to score one, put in by Forkin in the final two minutes of the game.
"They did a great job against a very good team," Finnell said. "Long Beach has an outstanding offense and containing them to seven goals for the game is quite an achievement."
As for the offense, Finnell said, "Our attack obviously produced ... Guterding, Dwyer and Kennedy all had big days. Patric Berkery ended up with 3-1."
Winning face-offs also contributed to Garden City's success, he said, adding, "James Sullivan in particular did a real good job getting the ball and getting possession for us."
"We made very good mid-game adjustments in between quarters," GC senior attacker Liam Kennedy told Patch. "We were caught a little bit on our heels in the first quarter, we weren't really sure what they were doing, but after the first quarter, we came together as a team and talked it out."
The Trojans will face Wantagh, who secured its spot in the finals Tuesday night with a 17-10 victory over Manhasset, in the finals on May 29 at 8:30 p.m. at Hofstra.
"It will be a very good game," Finnell said. "Last time, it was 5-5 at half. They're very athletic, [have] two outstanding midfielders, another very, very good offensive team, and they did a real nice job in the semis last night against Manhasset. And they have a very good goalie, so it's going to be a tough game."
"It's our last hooray," added Kennedy, who has played on varsity the past four years. "The younger guys on the team really understand that the seniors on this team really want it and the whole team came together and pulled out the W."
Garden City's Lady Trojans lax team also prevailed in their semi final game over Long Beach earlier in the night at Adelphi University, and will face Wantagh too in their final game on May 30.