Garden City Trojans Defeat Sayville to win Long Island Class B Lacrosse Championship
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BY JAKE WHITE
With a defense that virtually shut down two consecutive potent opponents and an offense that
was so diversified that it proved to be nearly unstoppable, Garden City High’s boys lacrosse team
marched to Nassau County and Long Island Class B titles last week. The wins advanced the team to
the state semifinals vs. Yorktown on Wednesday, June 6 at Hofstra at 8 p.m. with the winner playing
for the state championship at Middletown High School on Saturday, June 9 at 4 p.m.
Now 20-0, the Trojans trounced rival Wantagh, 14-1, in the county championship game, then
topped the Suffolk champ, Sayville, 9-2, before a large crowd at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium. In both
games, the Trojans faced teams that averaged about 14 goals per game. No team had ever held
consecutive opponents to just three combined goals in the two finals.
“We are playing our best team defense of the year and it couldn’t happen at a better time,” said
GC coach Steve Finnell. “Obviously, Dan Marino has been exceptional in goal and his defenders
have been extremely effective. But it goes beyond that. Our midfielders are shutting down their
men, we’re clearing the ball very well and the offense is controlling the clock. Those things limit
opportunities for opponents to score.”
Marino had eight saves against Wantagh as the Trojans kept the high-scoring Warriors off the
scoreboard until midway through the fourth quarter when he left with a 13-0 lead. Going back to
the first meeting between the teams, Garden City shut out Wantagh for 70 straight minutes. When
you add in a Trojan offense that scored almost at will, the 14-1 win was among the most dominating
playoff victories ever. Liam Kennedy (3), Justin Guterding (3), Rob Savage (2), Cody George (2) and
Ryan Norton (2) all were multiple goal scorers while Devin Dwyer had three assists.
“Wantagh had the ball for the first four or five minutes and they got off some good shots,” said
Liam Kennedy. “But Dan Marino stopped them all and then we really got rolling. We have so many
offensive threats that it makes it very tough for defenses.”
That diversity was in evidence in the Long Island final last Saturday against Sayville, the Suffolk
Class B winner over Comsewogue. The Golden Flashes packed in a tight zone defense in the first
quarter and held the game scoreless with the help of some fine stops by goalie Patrick Fleming ,who
would finish with 11 saves, and some unusually erratic shooting by the Trojans.
“We were ready for it, but I think it took a little time to adjust to it,” said Justin Guterding.
Then, as defensive assistant coach Mickey Blum pointed out, the defense got things going for the
offense. Mark Ellis and Tim McDonagh both picked up ground balls in the defensive end and raced
downfield on one-man clears. Both split the defense and fired home hard shots for goals. In the
ensuing minutes, Devin Dwyer, Justin Guterding and Ryan Norton scored to put Garden City on top,
5-0, by halftime. Sayville never seriously threatened after that.
“We want to keep playing,” said Finnell. “I think this is a great group. It’s been a great experience
and we’re trying to keep it rolling.”
LAX NOTES: The Trojans have won a record seven straight Nassau County Class B Championships
and 21 all-time. It was GC’s third consecutive Long Island title and 16 th over-all....Yorktown advanced
to the semis with wins over John Jay Cross River and Queensbury. GC edged Yorktown 10-8 in the
semifinals at sweltering White Plains a year ago. Over-all, the teams have met nine times with GC
leading 5-4. In semifinal games they are 4-4.....Dwyer raised his career assist total to 206 and now
has 100 points this season. Red hot Justin Guterding now has 85 on 45 goals and 40 assists.....Marino
recorded 11 saves against Sayville....James Sullivan continues to be effective on faceoffs....Defending
state champ Jamesville-DeWitt was scheduled to play Irondequoit in the upstate semifinal.