Kayla Murphy scored two goals to propel Garden City into the County Finals on Monday at 12:30 at Cold Spring Harbor.
The girls varsity soccer team is
playing their best soccer of the season at the right time of the year, playoff
time. Coach Michael Heedles knows what it means in the playoffs to play tight
defense and get your team to capitalize on their scoring chances. Heedles has
his team focused on doing just that as they came away from their semi-final
match against Clarke with a third consecutive playoff shutout.
Kayla Murphy put the Lady
Trojans on top in the first minute of the game as she snuck behind the defense
and ran on to a Haley O’Hanlon ball over the top. Murphy settled the ball and fired a shot past
a diving Hannah Zirkel, the Ram keeper, for the quick 1-0 lead.
Garden City did not sit back on
their lead but they also made sure that Clarke’s offense did not have much space
to move. The teams did trade several corner kicks each and free kicks from
outside 30 yards, but neither could get a clean look at the goal.
The Garden City defense has put
together three strong games in front of keeper Kelsey Tierney, not allowing
their opponents many scoring chances.
Outside backs Lily Schmitt and Kerry DeFliese have shut down the outside
runs, while Nikki Berkery, Deanna DePiero and Courtney Studdert have controlled
the middle of the field.
At halftime Coach Heedles implored
his team to get back basics to generate more offense – work the ball wide,
string together some passes and ‘play simple soccer.’
The Garden City girls put
Heedles words into action and began to dominate the ball in the second half
with O’Hanlon directing traffic in the midfield and getting strong runs on the
outside from Katherine Malhame, Caroline Beaty, Cailee McCarthy and Murphy.
Coming off a four goal game against North Shore, the Lady Trojans knew they had the fire power to extend their lead but couldn't solve the Clarke defense.
With about fifteen minutes left
in the match the Lady Trojans finally got the insurance goal that they sought
since the opening minute of the game. Beaty tracked a ball down in the right
corner and battled a defender to push the ball across the goal area. Murphy was
in the right spot as the ball barely got over the last defender and she headed it
past the goalie for her second score of the game.
The remainder of the game got a
little chippy but the Trojans were able to hold off the counter attacks of
Clarke and they walked out of Skelos Field with the 2-0 victory.
Next up in the County final will
be the winner of the South Side vs Plainedge game. The final will take place at
Cold Spring Harbor on Monday at 12:30.
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