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Garden City Boys Lacrosse | Varsity

Last updated at Sep 21, 2012 4:55PM | View Previous 2012 Articles
Team Schedule 2012 Open

NILCA Names Steve Finnell as the 2012 Coach of the Year

St. Louis, MO - The National Interscholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association is pleased to announce Steve Finnell, head coach of Garden City High School, as the 2012 Coach of the Year.

Finnell led Garden City to an undefeated (22-0) 2012 season, the New York State Class B lacrosse championship, and the top ranking in the country. Coach Finnell came back to coach at his alma mater in 2003 joining then head coach Doc Dougherty's Staff as an assistant. He became head coach in 2007.

Finnell's Garden City lacrosse teams have won a record six straight Nassau County championships. In addition, they have captured the last three Long Island titles and have played in three state finals, culminating with last season's thrilling 11-4 triumph over Irondequoit. His teams have compiled a record of 109-19 while playing schedules laced with nationally-ranked teams.

Finnell is known for his outstanding knowledge of the game and his tireless preparation. He is an outstanding communicator, skills he uses not just on the field and in the classroom, but in his considerable dealings with the New York area media. His players and staff both like and respect their coach who, at 37, has already accomplished what few in his profession have done.

"We are thrilled to have named Coach Finnell as the NILCA Coach of the Year," said Ren Pettinelli, President of the National Interscholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association. "Finnell epitomizes everything a program could want in a coach, teacher, and mentor."

Finnell will be honored at the IMLCA meetings in December.

NILCA was formed to provide dedicated service to high school lacrosse coaches throughout the United States. NILCA seeks to identify and provide solutions to issues raised by men's high school lacrosse coaches. NILCA will again be conducting its annual meeting the first week of December during the IMLCA Convention in Baltimore, Maryland. A detailed schedule of meetings and presentations will be available at the IMLCA web site, www.lacrossecoaches.org.

UNDEFEATED TROJANS WIN STATE CHAMPIONSHIP TO FINISH AS NATION’S TOP-RANKED TEAM
BY JAKE WHITE

The moment was so special that Garden City High’s boys lacrosse team, coaches and fans didn’t want it to end. The scene was the post-game celebration after the Trojans had defeated Irondequoit, 11-4 , to win the New York State Class B Championship at the beautiful Middletown High School stadium. After an incredible, pressure-filled campaign Garden City had a perfect record (22-0), the fifth state title in its history, (but first since 2000), and the consensus Number One Ranking among all high schools in the United States. They had avenged two-straight defeats to upstate rivals in state finals and made a strong case for their place in the school’s illustrious history. Nobody wanted to leave the field even after the championship plaque was presented and Devin Dwyer and Dan Marino received their outstanding player awards. As somebody said, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

“I am incredibly proud of what these players and our coaching staff accomplished,” said Trojans head coach Steve Finnell. “We put together an extremely difficult non-league schedule to prepare them and they met every challenge. That continued throughout the playoffs.” It is worth noting that GC defeated the State C Champs (Shoreham-Wading River), the County A Champs (Syosset), the Suffolk A runners-up (Ward Melville) and successfully scrimmaged the New Jersey champ (Bridgewater-Rariton ) and the Catholic League Champ (St. Anthony’s).

“I really believe that last year’s loss was the key to winning it all this year,” said Finnell. “This team was hungry for the championship. You could see it the way they worked in the off season and how they played in the playoffs.” Patric Berkery agreed. “Last year’s loss was probably the worst feeling ever.”

After struggling for three quarters, the Trojans took a 4-3 lead into the final period, then scored seven goals to put an exclamation point on their magic season. After falling behind 2-0 in the opening minutes, Cody George and Berkery knotted the score. Then came a second quarter that was dominated by Irondequoit which took ten shots, eight of them on goal. But goalie Dan Marino stopped all of them to keep the score knotted at 2-2 at the half. In the third quarter, Berkery, who has a long history of clutch performances, scored his second of three goals to give the Trojans a lead they would never lose.

Early in the final period an Irondequoit player committed a late, flagrant foul on Justin Guterding and left the field to his teammates’ cheers and a coach’s high five. The player was given a one minute non-releasable penalty and it changed the game. Dwyer and Kennedy scored to put GC ahead 6-3 and five more goals followed. The final minutes were a prelude to a post-game love fest which was as much a feeling of relief as it was a celebration.

YORKTOWN

In the semifinals, the Trojans put together what may have been their most impressive offensive performance of the year as they defeated Yorktown, the Section One (Westchester) Champions, 14-4. The Cornhuskers came out strong in the first five minutes, taking a 1-0 lead which might have been more except for five outstanding saves by goalie Dan Marino.. From that point, the game was totally dominated by Garden City.

Devin Dwyer, a unanimous All-American, showed his stick mastery by assisting on five straight goals . Three of those went to Justin Guterding, who finished with four. Remarkably, GC scored three goals in a span of just 22 seconds. On a set play off a timeout, Patric Berkery rifled a pass to Dwyer, who caught Yorktown in a full team ride. He turned and made a perfect 40 yard pass to Guterding who put the ball into an empty cage. Before the crowd could settle down, James Sullivan, who played a vital role by winning 13 of 16 faceoffs, got the ball to Mark Ellis and the senior sprinter raced to the goal and beat the goalie for the first of his two scores.

GC took a commanding 10-3 lead at the half and they weren’t through as Dwyer picked up two more third quarter assists to finish with a school –tying playoff record seven. Berkery put in two more rifle-like shots and Cody George added his second goal of the game. The high-scoring Cornhuskers (16-4) were held to a single goal in the final two quarters.

LAX NOTES:
Post season honors are coming in. Devin Dwyer has been named the Tri-State and Nassau County Player of the Year. Dan Marino is the Tri-State and Nassau County Goalie of the Year. Patric Berkery is the Nassau Midfielder of the Year and all three were named All-Americans. In addition, Ed Blatz, Justin Guterding, Liam Kennedy, Rob Savage and Eugene Berkery have been named All-County while Ryan Norton and Scott D’Antonio received All-County Honorable Mention....The GC boys and girls both won the state titles, a feat also accomplished in 1997 and 2000....One of the highlights of the Trojans trip home from Middletown was being met by a Garden City Police escort for a surprise welcome home on Seventh Street....Dwyer finished with a school record 217 career assists and 347 total points, tied with new GC Hall of Famer Dean Gibbons for second place behind Peter LeSueur’s 373.

 

UNDEFEATED TROJANS ADVANCE TO NASSAU LACROSSE QUARTERFINALS FRIDAY NIGHT AT HOFSTRA
BY JAKE WHITE

The “second season” has arrived for Garden City High’s undefeated (16-0) lacrosse team. Two big wins last week clinched the Conference II Championship and advanced the Trojans to the Nassau Class B quarterfinals against South Side this Friday night (May 18) at 6:30 p.m. The game has been moved to Hofstra’s soccer stadium on the North Campus due to graduation preparations.

The final regular season game was a big one as Garden City traveled to Wantagh to take on the Warriors, who were 7-0 in conference play. On the line was the Conference II Championship and the top seed in the playoffs. Wantagh has a high-powered offense and it showed in the second quarter as four straight goals put the Warriors on top, 5-3. The Trojans came back to knot the game 5-5 at halftime, then completely dominated play after the intermission, shutting out their opponents 7-0 for a 12-5 win. The nine straight Garden City goals sent a strong message and Wantagh responded with a series of late-game penalties that caused some tension on the sidelines. The rivalry has been strong for a decade and there is the possibility that the teams could meet again in the playoffs.

As might be expected, the Trojans’ big guns stepped up against Wantagh. Liam Kennedy had four goals, Patric Berkery had two goals and two assists and Devin Dwyer and Justin Guterding each had three points.

The 2012 playoffs got underway two days later as GC hosted Levittown Division in a first round game. That meant that Coach Steve Finnell had just one day to prepare his team and he chose to get the starters as much rest as possible. “Our players have worked very hard and played a very difficult schedule. We have a few guys who are hurting a bit and I wanted to give them some rest.” Finnell used his entire roster in an 11-3 win over an out-manned Division (8-6) squad.

The starting attack did get to play a half and Justin Guterding took advantage by tallying a goal and four assists. The Duke-bound junior has 33 goals and 34 assists for 67 points this season, second only to Devin Dwyer’s 28-53-81. Liam Kennedy leads the team with 44 goals.

Finnell kept his first midfield out for nearly all of the game and his first defense played sparingly. Goalie Dan Marino, still recovering from a collision with Manhasset’s Bobby Duvynak, sat out and was replaced by Matt Cortese and Dan Dolan, who held the Blue Dragons in check.

The semi-final opponent, South Side, advanced with a 14-6 win over Jericho. The Cyclones finished fifth in Conference III and recorded some good wins and bad losses. They do feature an outstanding faceoff man and some fine athletes. The teams did not meet this year. GC won two-one-sided games a year ago, including a victory in the semifinals. A win would advance the Trojans to the semifinals which are scheduled for Wednesday May 23, tentatively at 8 p.m.


LAX NOTES:
 James Sullivan, who has been vastly improved on faceoffs, was given the day off against Division to heal some aches. He was replaced by Matt Schmelzinger and Matt totally dominated the Blue Dragons....GC will be trying to reach the semifinals or “Final Four” for the 28th time in 29 years. The only exception was 2004....The next five playoff rounds are all scheduled for Hofstra. The State Championship will be played at Middletown High School on June 9.....Congratulations to Tim Goettelmann whose “Monster’s Kids” charity raised over $40,000 at the Wood Stick Classic.....The 18 seniors were recognized prior to the Levittown Division game. They are 53-7 over the last three years.


TROJANS HOST MANHASSET SATURDAY IN 122nd WOOD STICK CLASSIC LACROSSE GAME

BY JAKE WHITE

The nation’s oldest uninterrupted high school lacrosse rivalry will be renewed this Saturday at Warren King Field when the unbeaten and top-ranked Garden City Trojans host the Manhasset Indians in the Wood Stick Classic. It will be the 122nd meeting between the two schools since the series began in 1935. Game time is 4:30 p.m.

In the years since coaches Jay Stranahan of Manhassset and Jim Steen of Garden City introduced the sport to Nassau County, the two teams have compiled an unequaled record of success with 37 Nassau, 29 Long Island and eight state championships between them. Last year Manhasset moved from Class C to B for the first time since 1998 and that resulted in the squads meeting for the county title. Garden City won 6-5 after having defeated the Indians 10-6 during the regular season. Manhasset still leads the series 67-54 all-time.

Once again the teams come into the game with excellent records. GC is 12-0 over-all and leads Conference II with a 6-0 mark. The Indians have three losses, but all are to nationally-ranked teams: Calvert Hall, MD, Darien, CT. and Chaminade. Manhasset is unbeaten in Conference III. While this week’s game is a non-league affair, the possibility exists that the rivals could meet again in late May with a title on the line.

There is something quite unique about the Wood Stick. Certainly the history is a major factor, but the game seems to transcend lacrosse. The two communities share many characteristics, including their passion for sports. Prior to the varsity game, alumni stars will play the second annual game which will bring back nearly 100 former players to raise money for “Monster’s Kids,” a charity supporting Schneider’s Children’s Hospital. Faceoff is at noon.
This year’s game will be sponsored by the Men’s Association and will honor the Wounded Warrior Project and the Folds of Honor. Members of a Navy Seal Team will be on hand and a special military flyover is planned.

While this is the most intense of rivalries, it is also marked by respect and relationships. The coaches, Garden City’s Steve Finnell and Manhasset’s Bill Cherry are good friends and many of the players know each other from many years of competition from the youth leagues through summers and into high school. Interestingly, the two best known players, the Indians’ star defenseman Bobby Duvnjak and the Trojans’ high-scoring Devin Dwyer, will be teammates next year at Harvard.

Manhasset is a strong defensive team with big, hard-hitting Duvnjak and goalie Evan Molloy leading the way. Attackman Quinn Maroney and midfielder Ryan Matthews head a well-balanced offense. Garden City features a potent scoring attack of Dwyer, Liam Kennedy and Justin Guterding plus outstanding midfielders Patric Berkery, Rob Savage, Ryan Norton and Mark Ellis.

Perhaps the most satisfying thing for Coach Finnell has been the development of the defense which had to replace stars Steve Jahelka, Brian Fischer and J.P. Burnside. Speaking of last year’s defense, veteran coach Tom Flatley said “You could watch lacrosse for a long time and never see a group like that again.” Yet, while the 2011 team yielded four goals per game, this year’s group is giving up just 5.4. A key is the return of outstanding goalie Dan Marino and defenseman Eugene Berkery, but new starters Scott D’Antonio, Ed Blatz, Tom Wright and Kyle Skramko have helped form an excellent unit.

Last week, the Trojans scored another big win over a highly-regarded opponent. Their visit to Shoreham-Wading River was a replay of last year’s Long Island Class B Championship, won by Garden City 9-4. The Wildcats are a Class C team this season but had soundly beaten Comsewogue, regarded as Suffolk’s top B squad. The Trojans dominated the game, stretching a 5-2 halftime lead into an impressive 13-4 victory. Devin Dwyer continued his scoring barrage with three goals and three assists while Kennedy, Berkery and Norton had two goals each.

S-WR Coach Tom Rotanz thanked the Trojans for coming to Suffolk to play in the “LAX OUT CANCER” game, but he added “the one mistake I made was that I thought Garden City had graduated all its stars.”


LAX NOTES:  The Trojans face a busy schedule. Following the Woodstick, they go to Calhoun on Monday and travel to Wantagh on Wednesday for the biggest conference game of the year. The playoffs open at Garden City on Friday afternoon.....Garden City’s honorary coach for the Alumni Game, Doc Dougherty, won’t be able to be on the sidelines this time. The Hall of Famer is now coaching the Club team at Hofstra and his squad has qualified for the national championship “Elite Eight” in Annapolis this weekend. “It will be the first Garden City-Manhasset game I’ve missed in 40 years,” he said....In a touching pre-game ceremony players, coaches, and one of the officials whose families had been touched by cancer lined up. Among them was Coach Finnell, whose mother passed away during his college days and Coach Flatley, whose wife Helen succumbed last summer.....MSG Varsity will telecast the Wood Stick live....Garden City’s undefeated J.V. team will put its streak on the line against Manhasset’s J.V. at Garden City on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

TROJANS TOP DUXBURY, MOVE TO THE TOP OF THE POLLS
BY JAKE WHITE

Ten up, ten down. That has been the fate of all of Garden City High’s 2012 lacrosse opponents. With another victory over a ranked opponent and two more conference wins, the Trojans have not only gone undefeated through two-thirds of their regular season schedule, they have moved to the top of three major polls. Inside Lacrosse now ranks Garden City number one in the nation while MSG Varsity ranks them first in the tri-state area, and the New York State Sportswriters Association has GC as the top Class B team in New York State.

“It is nice to see the players being recognized for all the hard work they’ve put in,” said Coach Steve Finnell. “However, the last thing we need to do is to get too caught up in polls. Our goal is to win championships and we have major challenges ahead of us.” The next big hurdle is tomorrow (Saturday) when the team travels to Shoreham-Wading River for a rematch of last year’s Long Island Class B final which was won by the Trojans, 9-4. S-WR has moved to Class C this year. Game time is 3 p.m.

The highlight of last week was another impressive win over a ranked opponent. The host Trojans defeated Duxbury, MA 10-5 last Saturday, dominating one of the top teams in New England. GC’s high scoring attack continued to pile up points while the defense, highlighted by goalie Dan Marino who made nine saves, shut down Duxbury. It was a rough game which at one point saw the Trojans play three men short and still keep Duxbury from scoring.

Devin Dwyer contributed a goal and five assists while Liam Kennedy had three goals and Rob Savage two. Justin Guterding had a goal and two assists. GC spotted the Dragons (6-2) two goals, then outscored them 10-1 before yielding two late, meaningless goals.

The Trojans (10-0 over-all) improved their conference record to 5-0 with two one-sided victories.
At Great Neck South, Coach Fiinnell did not dress his first midfield, two starting defensemen and his number one goalie. He did let his attack play the first quarter and they helped build a 9-0 lead. With reserves playing for nearly three quarters, the Trojans won, 22-1. Thirteen different players scored goals, led by Liam Kennedy and Jack Worstell who scored three each. Dwyer had five assists – all in the first period.

On Tuesday, Dwyer and Kennedy put on a show as they combined for 17 first half points in an 18-5 win at Jericho. Kennedy scored six goals to raise his season total to a team-leading 31. Dwyer recorded seven assists for a Long Island-best 43. Devin now has 185 career assists, just eight short of the school record of 193 compiled by three-time All-American Peter LeSueur ’01.


LAX NOTES:  Saturday’s game at Shoreham-Wading River will be telecast live on MSG Varsity as will the Wood Stick Classic vs. rival Manhasset at Garden City a week from Saturday (May 5) at 4:30 p.m......GC hosts Bellmore JFK Tuesday at 4:30....Tim Goettelmann, the founder of Monster’s Kids which sponsors the May 5 Garden City vs. Manhasset Alumni Game, reports that over 60 former Garden City players have already signed up to play. Oddly, Manhasset is still in need of players....Among Duxbury’s wins is a 10-8 victory over two-time defending N.Y. State Class B Champion Jamesville-DeWitt.......GC coaches are impressed with the quick stick ability of Lucas Clay, who has helped make the man-up offense so potent.

DEFENSE AND MIDDIES KEY TROJANS’ WOOD STICK WIN;
PLAYOFFS OPEN FRIDAY
BY JAKE WHITE

About the only thing that didn’t go perfectly at last Saturday’s 122nd Wood Stick Classic lacrosse game was the weather. The predicted 70 degrees and sunny turned out to be 60 and damp, but that didn’t prevent more than 2,000 fans and a live TV audience from seeing an outstanding performance by the top-ranked Garden City Trojans who dominated Manhasset, their ancient rivals, 9-3, at Warren King Field.

Beyond the victory, two other key elements appear to be in place for the Trojans as they open the Class B playoffs at Garden City this Friday, May 11. All year long the high scoring attack has dominated this talented team, which has averaged 14 goals per game. However, upcoming opponents must also be prepared to face a maturing defense and a midfield which is starting to flex its muscles.

Veteran Virginia-bound goalie Dan Marino played behind the best defense in the school’s history a year ago, but as this season has progressed his defenders have gotten better and better. Senior Eugene Berkery was experienced but Coach Steve Finnell and his defensive aides Joe Jacovina and Mickey Blum have rebuilt the back line with outstanding athletes Scott D’Antonio, Ed Blatz, Tom Wright and Kyle Skramko. Those four are all underclassmen, but it looks as if they have come of age. They shut out the Indians for three of four quarters and the three third quarter goals they allowed are two less than their five goals per game average. Hall of Famer Pat McCabe, who broadcast the game, is impressed. “Right now,” he said, “they are playing almost as well as last year’s group.”

The other recent development has been the greater offensive role played by the midfield. It is no secret that the outstanding attack of Devin Dwyer, Liam Kennedy and Justin Guterding has been piling up points (more than 170 between them) and defenses are packing in to try to slow them down. That has opened up scoring opportunities for the middies and they are taking advantage. Patric Berkery, Rob Savage, Ryan Norton and Mark Ellis have been firing home rifle shots. Ellis scored three goals in a 19-5 win over Bellmore Kennedy while Berkery and Savage had two goals in the Wood Stick and Norton had three points. In addition, freshman James Sullivan has improved his faceoff skills. He dominated against Manhasset, enabling the Trojans to control the ball and the tempo.

“We are now a very balanced team and that is what we strive for,” said Coach Finnell. “We knew that we had an excellent attack and a terrific goaltender. Now we have talented depth at midfield and the defenders are playing very well as a unit.”

On Monday afternoon at Calhoun, GC improved its record to 14-0 with a 15-5 triumph over the Colts. The starting unit built an 11-1 halftime lead behind the scoring of Justin Guterding (5 goals, 3 assists), Liam Kennedy (3 goals) and Devin Dwyer (1 goal, 5 assists). Dwyer tied the school’s career assist record of 193 set by Pete LeSueur ’01. Jack Worstell, who has seen increased playing time, added three goals and an assist in a reserve role. Jack Metzler had a goal and two assists.

The win set up a crucial regular season finale last Wednesday between the Trojans and Wantagh with the Conference B-1 Championship at stake. Both teams came into the game with 7-0 league records.


LAX NOTES:
 The Wood Stick Classic was dedicated to the Wounded Warriors Project and the Folds of Honor and was organized by Mr. Tom Marino. Members of Seal Team Eight and a marine color guard were on hand. A planned fly-over had to be cancelled when the AT-6 was grounded by low clouds.....Tim Goettelmann and Adam Kohart did a wonderful job organizing the second annual Alumni game. More than 60 former Garden City stars played. But Manhasset won 14-10. One of the highlights was seeing GC’s top one season scorers, Tim Worstell ’79 and Dean Gibbons ’07, playing on the same attack.....The Class B quarterfinals are scheduled for Hofstra on May 17 or 18.....The Wood Stick win was the 100th career victory against just 19 losses for Coach Finnell in six seasons......In a throwback to another era, a streaker raced across the field at Calhoun at halftime. It was the Colts’ only fast break of the day.


TROJANS HOST MANHASSET SATURDAY IN 122nd WOOD STICK CLASSIC LACROSSE GAME

BY JAKE WHITE

The nation’s oldest uninterrupted high school lacrosse rivalry will be renewed this Saturday at Warren King Field when the unbeaten and top-ranked Garden City Trojans host the Manhasset Indians in the Wood Stick Classic. It will be the 122nd meeting between the two schools since the series began in 1935. Game time is 4:30 p.m.

In the years since coaches Jay Stranahan of Manhassset and Jim Steen of Garden City introduced the sport to Nassau County, the two teams have compiled an unequaled record of success with 37 Nassau, 29 Long Island and eight state championships between them. Last year Manhasset moved from Class C to B for the first time since 1998 and that resulted in the squads meeting for the county title. Garden City won 6-5 after having defeated the Indians 10-6 during the regular season. Manhasset still leads the series 67-54 all-time.

Once again the teams come into the game with excellent records. GC is 12-0 over-all and leads Conference II with a 6-0 mark. The Indians have three losses, but all are to nationally-ranked teams: Calvert Hall, MD, Darien, CT. and Chaminade. Manhasset is unbeaten in Conference III. While this week’s game is a non-league affair, the possibility exists that the rivals could meet again in late May with a title on the line.

There is something quite unique about the Wood Stick. Certainly the history is a major factor, but the game seems to transcend lacrosse. The two communities share many characteristics, including their passion for sports. Prior to the varsity game, alumni stars will play the second annual game which will bring back nearly 100 former players to raise money for “Monster’s Kids,” a charity supporting Schneider’s Children’s Hospital. Faceoff is at noon.
This year’s game will be sponsored by the Men’s Association and will honor the Wounded Warrior Project and the Folds of Honor. Members of a Navy Seal Team will be on hand and a special military flyover is planned.

While this is the most intense of rivalries, it is also marked by respect and relationships. The coaches, Garden City’s Steve Finnell and Manhasset’s Bill Cherry are good friends and many of the players know each other from many years of competition from the youth leagues through summers and into high school. Interestingly, the two best known players, the Indians’ star defenseman Bobby Duvnjak and the Trojans’ high-scoring Devin Dwyer, will be teammates next year at Harvard.

Manhasset is a strong defensive team with big, hard-hitting Duvnjak and goalie Evan Molloy leading the way. Attackman Quinn Maroney and midfielder Ryan Matthews head a well-balanced offense. Garden City features a potent scoring attack of Dwyer, Liam Kennedy and Justin Guterding plus outstanding midfielders Patric Berkery, Rob Savage, Ryan Norton and Mark Ellis.

Perhaps the most satisfying thing for Coach Finnell has been the development of the defense which had to replace stars Steve Jahelka, Brian Fischer and J.P. Burnside. Speaking of last year’s defense, veteran coach Tom Flatley said “You could watch lacrosse for a long time and never see a group like that again.” Yet, while the 2011 team yielded four goals per game, this year’s group is giving up just 5.4. A key is the return of outstanding goalie Dan Marino and defenseman Eugene Berkery, but new starters Scott D’Antonio, Ed Blatz, Tom Wright and Kyle Skramko have helped form an excellent unit.

Last week, the Trojans scored another big win over a highly-regarded opponent. Their visit to Shoreham-Wading River was a replay of last year’s Long Island Class B Championship, won by Garden City 9-4. The Wildcats are a Class C team this season but had soundly beaten Comsewogue, regarded as Suffolk’s top B squad. The Trojans dominated the game, stretching a 5-2 halftime lead into an impressive 13-4 victory. Devin Dwyer continued his scoring barrage with three goals and three assists while Kennedy, Berkery and Norton had two goals each.

S-WR Coach Tom Rotanz thanked the Trojans for coming to Suffolk to play in the “LAX OUT CANCER” game, but he added “the one mistake I made was that I thought Garden City had graduated all its stars.”


LAX NOTES:  The Trojans face a busy schedule. Following the Woodstick, they go to Calhoun on Monday and travel to Wantagh on Wednesday for the biggest conference game of the year. The playoffs open at Garden City on Friday afternoon.....Garden City’s honorary coach for the Alumni Game, Doc Dougherty, won’t be able to be on the sidelines this time. The Hall of Famer is now coaching the Club team at Hofstra and his squad has qualified for the national championship “Elite Eight” in Annapolis this weekend. “It will be the first Garden City-Manhasset game I’ve missed in 40 years,” he said....In a touching pre-game ceremony players, coaches, and one of the officials whose families had been touched by cancer lined up. Among them was Coach Finnell, whose mother passed away during his college days and Coach Flatley, whose wife Helen succumbed last summer.....MSG Varsity will telecast the Wood Stick live....Garden City’s undefeated J.V. team will put its streak on the line against Manhasset’s J.V. at Garden City on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

TROJANS TOP DUXBURY, MOVE TO THE TOP OF THE POLLS
BY JAKE WHITE

Ten up, ten down. That has been the fate of all of Garden City High’s 2012 lacrosse opponents. With another victory over a ranked opponent and two more conference wins, the Trojans have not only gone undefeated through two-thirds of their regular season schedule, they have moved to the top of three major polls. Inside Lacrosse now ranks Garden City number one in the nation while MSG Varsity ranks them first in the tri-state area, and the New York State Sportswriters Association has GC as the top Class B team in New York State.

“It is nice to see the players being recognized for all the hard work they’ve put in,” said Coach Steve Finnell. “However, the last thing we need to do is to get too caught up in polls. Our goal is to win championships and we have major challenges ahead of us.” The next big hurdle is tomorrow (Saturday) when the team travels to Shoreham-Wading River for a rematch of last year’s Long Island Class B final which was won by the Trojans, 9-4. S-WR has moved to Class C this year. Game time is 3 p.m.

The highlight of last week was another impressive win over a ranked opponent. The host Trojans defeated Duxbury, MA 10-5 last Saturday, dominating one of the top teams in New England. GC’s high scoring attack continued to pile up points while the defense, highlighted by goalie Dan Marino who made nine saves, shut down Duxbury. It was a rough game which at one point saw the Trojans play three men short and still keep Duxbury from scoring.

Devin Dwyer contributed a goal and five assists while Liam Kennedy had three goals and Rob Savage two. Justin Guterding had a goal and two assists. GC spotted the Dragons (6-2) two goals, then outscored them 10-1 before yielding two late, meaningless goals.

The Trojans (10-0 over-all) improved their conference record to 5-0 with two one-sided victories.
At Great Neck South, Coach Fiinnell did not dress his first midfield, two starting defensemen and his number one goalie. He did let his attack play the first quarter and they helped build a 9-0 lead. With reserves playing for nearly three quarters, the Trojans won, 22-1. Thirteen different players scored goals, led by Liam Kennedy and Jack Worstell who scored three each. Dwyer had five assists – all in the first period.

On Tuesday, Dwyer and Kennedy put on a show as they combined for 17 first half points in an 18-5 win at Jericho. Kennedy scored six goals to raise his season total to a team-leading 31. Dwyer recorded seven assists for a Long Island-best 43. Devin now has 185 career assists, just eight short of the school record of 193 compiled by three-time All-American Peter LeSueur ’01.


LAX NOTES:  Saturday’s game at Shoreham-Wading River will be telecast live on MSG Varsity as will the Wood Stick Classic vs. rival Manhasset at Garden City a week from Saturday (May 5) at 4:30 p.m......GC hosts Bellmore JFK Tuesday at 4:30....Tim Goettelmann, the founder of Monster’s Kids which sponsors the May 5 Garden City vs. Manhasset Alumni Game, reports that over 60 former Garden City players have already signed up to play. Oddly, Manhasset is still in need of players....Among Duxbury’s wins is a 10-8 victory over two-time defending N.Y. State Class B Champion Jamesville-DeWitt.......GC coaches are impressed with the quick stick ability of Lucas Clay, who has helped make the man-up offense so potent.


DWYER LEADS TROJANS TO 12-11 WIN OVER NO. 1 RANKED CONESTOGA; DUXBURY HERE SATURDAY
BY JAKE WHITE

Even four years ago when Devin Dwyer was the smallest player on the field, Garden City High’s lacrosse coach Steve Finnell knew that he had something special. As the years have passed, Dwyer has grown physically (almost a foot taller and 60 pounds heavier) and as a complete lacrosse player. Last Saturday at Haverford, Dwyer put all his talents on display, scoring three goals and assisting on six others as Garden City defeated Conestoga, PA, the number one ranked team in America, 12-11.

“Devin is a big time player,” said Finnell. “Today, he took his game to a different level and dominated a game filled with top players. It was something to watch.”

Before the game, Hall of Famer Tim Worstell, former Maryland captain and a high school All-American attackman at Garden City who set a county record of 88 goals in 1979, was talking about Dwyer’s evolution. “Devin’s game lacked only one thing,” he said. “He needed the strength and speed to come around the cage and beat the best defenders. Now, he has that and we need him to do that against Conestoga.” Worstell could not have been more prescient. After the Pioneers scored first, Dwyer, using an outstanding first step, twice beat his man, came around the net and fired in unassisted goals to put the Trojans ahead, 2-1. He then assisted on four of the next five GC goals as the teams battled to a 7-7 halftime tie. He wasn’t through. Down the stretch Devin was involved in the final three goals that clinched the win as he passed to Justin Guterding and Rob Savage for scores, then converted Guterding’s pinpoint pass to put the Trojans ahead, 12-9.

Guterding, a junior who is headed to Duke, is another player who has taken his game to a higher level. He wound up with three goals and two assists. The third member of the starting attack, Liam Kennedy, had two goals and an assist. Conestoga couldn’t stop the Trojan offense which was particularly sharp in man-up situations, converting four opportunities.

But the Pioneers (6-1) didn’t go quietly. Each time the Trojans (7-0) seemed about to pull away, they came back with exceptionally hard shots. The Pennsylvania school, which plays in the 4A league and has about 500 students in each class, scored twice in the closing three minutes to draw within a goal. They had one chance to tie when they got the ball with about 45 seconds left, , but the close in defense of Eugene Berkery, Ed Blatz and Scott D’Antonio ,stripped the ball and the Trojans ran out the clock. “The defense was faced with one of the best attacks in the country and they contained them,” said Finnell.

In a game which featured powerful offenses, possession was a key. Freshman James Sullivan and senior Rob Savage held their own on faceoffs with the help of outstanding play by the wings, notably Patric Berkery, who consistently overpowered opponents to come up with loose balls. He also contributed a goal.

“It took a team effort to beat a team as good as Conestoga,” Finnell said. “We really got it today and it was a great win. But April 14 isn’t late May or June and we have lots of work left to do.” That work continues this week. After a conference game at Great Neck South, the Trojans will host top-ten ranked Duxbury, MA this Saturday (April 21) at 1 p.m. at Warren King Field.


LAX NOTES:  The Haverford School hosted seven games in its lacrosse day dedicated to increasing awareness of male cancer. Over $100,000 was raised. Among the highly-ranked teams playing besides Garden City and Conestoga were Episcopal, Wilton, CT, LaSalle, St. Augustine, Haverford and Lawrenceville....A Trojan goal in the second quarter was negated by an “inadvertent whistle” by an official. Fortunately, it didn’t affect the outcome....Brian Badgett and Lucas Clay scored goals...There is a lot of history in the private school league that Haverford (1884) plays in. Episcopal dates to the 1700’s and Penn Charter was founded in 1680!


LACROSSE WIN IN MARYLAND IS A FIRST
FOR UNBEATEN TROJANS

BY JAKE WHITE

It took a 200 mile drive and nearly eight decades for Garden City High’s lacrosse team to finally get a win against a Maryland team. Last Saturday, Coach Steve Finnell took his team to Baltimore to play St. Paul’s, a perennial power in the Maryland Lacrosse Association. The Trojans dominated the final 15 minutes of the game to come away with a 9-6 victory. It was the team’s first win against St. Paul’s in six tries, although each of the previous five games had been extremely close.

“It was a good win for us,” said Coach Finnell. “They are a very strong program with a great history.” The Trojans jumped out to a 3-1 first quarter lead on goals by Patric Berkery, Liam Kennedy and Devin Dwyer, then went flat in the second as they fell behind, 4-3 at the half. It began to look bad when the Crusaders extended their lead to 5-3 and the Trojans were hit with a two minute unreleasable penalty. At that point, a “bad play” became a game changer for Garden City. Speedster Mark Ellis, playing his first game of the season after recovering from a back injury, picked up a loose ball and outraced everyone out of his defensive end and into the offensive zone. Logic and standard practice called on him to try to kill the remaining time on the penalty, but Mark kept racing to the goal and fired a hard shot into the top of the cage to pull the Trojans within a goal. His “wrong” decision lit a fire under the GC players and the large group of fans who made the trip. Justin Guterding, (two), Patric Berkery, Tim McDonagh and Rob Savage all followed with goals and the defense, led by the brilliant play of goalie Dan Marino, shut down the Crusader offense.

Historically, Long Island and Baltimore have been the hotbeds of scholastic lacrosse. Garden City has played teams from Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado and California. In 1983, they even played and defeated a team from London, England. But until Finnell began to schedule St. Paul’s in 2007, Garden City had played just one game against Maryland teams. A check of the record book shows that the game was played May 27, 1939 when new Garden City athletic director Carroll “Red” Smith invited Baltimore Friends, his former school , to play at Garden City. Friends won 12-4 and it would take 73 years and five more losses for the Trojans to get their first victory.

On Monday, GC (5-0) won its second conference game with a 17-2 thumping of previously undefeated Elmont (4-1). It was 12-0 half way through the second quarter when Finnell began to clear his bench. Devin Dwyer (2 goals, 4 assists) and Justin Guterding (4 goals, 2 assists) led the regulars. Mike Comiskey (2 goals), Jack Metzler (1 goal, 2 assists) and Chris Harder (1 and 1) took advantage of the added playing time.

The Trojans face Long Beach (Thursday, April 4) in a key conference game at GC. The Marines have moved to Conference Two after being a playoff qualifier last year in Class A. They have plenty of returning starters and are off to a strong start.


LAX NOTES: Next up for the Trojans on their tour through nationally-ranked opponents is Conestoga, Pennsylvania which may be ranked number one after defeating Maryland’s Calvert Hall, 11-10. The game will be played at Haverford, PA a week from Saturday, April 14 in that school’s annual lacrosse day. Haverford is down the road from Villanova in the Philadelphia suburbs. Game time is 11 a.m....Joining the Trojans at St. Paul’s was Manhasset which played Calvert Hall, a Baltimore power which had been ranked as high as number two nationally. The Indians led 5-1 in the third quarter but couldn’t hold the lead and lost 6-5 in overtime.


Unbeaten Trojans Top Long Beach in Key Conference Match; Face # 1 Conestoga, PA Saturday at Haverford

BY JAKE WHITE

T
After topping a series of highly-ranked non-league opponents, Garden CIty High's lacrosse team faced its first key conference test last week against previously undefeated Long Beach, and the Trojans passed the test with flying colors, sinking the Marines 13-8. GC led 13-4 early in the fourth quarter, then went into a possession mode which enabled the south shore foe to cut into the big lead. Long Beach, coached by the veteran Jim Kasper, was seeded second in the conference by the coaches, who placed Garden City first and Wantagh third. The Marines moved from Conference I where they were a Class A playoff team a year ago. Most of their key players are back and Coach Kasper believes his team can contend for the Class B title which Garden City has held for six years.

The Trojans, now 6-0 over-all and 3-0 in Conference II, resume their trip through the national rankings this Saturday (April 14) when they take on Conestoga, PA at the Haverford School at 11am. Conestoga began the season as the third-ranked team in the nation and moved to number one when they beat Calvert Hall, MD, 11-10. They are currently 6-0 with wins over Boy’s Latin and Malvern Prep as well. Conestoga is loaded with Division I players and competes with many of the U.S.'s top teams. It will be the first meeting ever between the schools. Haverford School is located just outside of Philadelphia, a couple of miles down the road from Villanova University.

GC jumped out to a fast start against Long Beach. Liam Kennedy, Mark Ellis and Cody George scored first quarter goals and the Trojans widened their lead to 8-3 at the half as Devin Dwyer (2), and Kennedy hit the net along with speedy defensemen Tom Wright (his first) and Ed Blatz (his third). The Trojans have shown an excellent fast-break, transition game.

Before Long Beach could mount a third quarter rally, Kennedy and Dwyer resumed their target practice. Devin wound up with three goals and three assists, while Liam had four goals and an assist. The lead built to 13-4 early in the fourth period when Justin Guterding and Ryan Norton scored their first goals of the game. Dan Marino finished with seven saves.

LAX NOTES:  With a rebuilt defense, the Trojans set out to be a more aggressive, fast-paced offensive team. Their plan was to take advantage of significant experience and fine athleticism and that is just what has happened so far in six impressive wins. The Trojans are averaging 13 goals per game.....GC is 15-0 all time vs. Long Beach.....The Conestoga game on Saturday will be part of Haverford's all-day lacrosse "Checking For Cancer" festival which annually attracts some of the nation's top teams......Following the game in Pennsylvania the Trojans travel to Great Neck South for a conference game Wednesday at 4:30pm.


TROJANS BEAT WARD MELVILLE FOR
LAX BRAGGING RIGHTS

BY JAKE WHITE

It wasn’t a playoff game or even a conference game for that matter, but don’t try telling any of the Garden City or Ward Melville lacrosse players that last Saturday’s non-league match at Warren King Field wasn’t a big one. Garden City dominated the second half to beat the Patriots, 12-9, in an inter-county non-league contest that had both Nassau and Suffolk fans as well as national pollsters watching.

For the Trojans (3-0) the win helped build the confidence and belief that this is a very strong team capable of playing with anyone. “There is no doubt about it. This was a big win for us against an outstanding team. I am very proud of our guys,” said Coach Steve Finnell. Ward Melville is a Class A school and is regarded as a top contender in Suffolk. The Patriots handed GC one of its three losses in 2011 and that was on the mind of the Trojan seniors.

W-M broke a 3-3 tie with three straight second quarter goals. “I think that was the key point in the game,” Finnell said. “We were down 6-3 and Dan Marino had made some great saves to keep it that close. But then we turned it around and outscored them 9-3 the rest of the way. The offense got rolling and the defense shut them down.”

For the third consecutive game, the Garden City’s attack lit up the scoreboard. Devin Dwyer, Liam Kennedy and the highly improved Justin Guterding have been taking turns scoring goals and perhaps, equally importantly, racking up assists. Their unselfish play has put huge pressure on defenses. In fact, Ward Melville’s goalie did not make a single second half save. Dwyer wound up with four goals and two assists, Guterding had six assists and Kennedy had three goals.

Syracuse-bound (for football) midfielder Ryan Norton’s third goal of the game tied the score at 7-7. Cody George then put the Trojans ahead to stay with a sharp-angled shot before Kennedy deflected Guterding’s shot for a 9-7 edge at the end of three periods, Veterans Devin Dwyer and Patric Berkery kept the rally going. Dwyer stole a clearing pass and scored easily, then took a pass from Guterding for another goal. Berkery’s rifle shot gave GC what seemed an insurmountable 12-7 lead with five minutes remaining, but there were still a few tense moments left. The Patriots broke a long scoreless streak to draw within four, then the Trojans were hit with two penalties on one play. The two-man advantage gave Ward Melville the opportunity to score a quick goal. The score was 12-9 and the Trojans were having major problems with faceoffs, winning only 6 of 24 for the game. But freshman James Sullivan won this one and GC managed to run a big chunk of time off the clock to clinch the victory.

After enjoying six days off, the Trojans will play another one of those non-league showdowns this Saturday (March 31) when they travel to Baltimore to play perennial power St. Paul’s at 2 p.m. This series has frustrated Garden City which has lost all five meetings by very close scores. It is another chance for the Trojan seniors to go out on top.

Earlier, GC won its league opener over Carey by a convincing 16-0 score, with the entire second half played in running time. Coach Finnell cleared his bench after the Trojans took a 12-0 halftime lead. Justin Guterding had five goals and Devin Dwyer had six assists – all in the first half. Sean Digan had his first two varsity goals, both unassisted.


LAX NOTES: GC has won 6 of 8 all-time against Ward Melville, including three consecutive Long Island Championships from 1985-87.....Defenseman Ed Blatz scored goals in the first two games...In three scrimmages and one game against nationally ranked teams, the Trojan defense, which has been re-built except for Eugene Berkery and Dan Marino, has more than held its own. Freshman Tom Wright has been particularly impressive....Tom Flatley, whose JV team beat Ward Melville 11-6 to go to 3-0, is impressed with the varsity’s start. “This could be our best offensive team in a long time,” he said.


TROJANS ROUT SYOSSET IN LACROSSE OPENER;
WARD MELVILLE VISITS ON SATURDAY

BY JAKE WHITE

The weather may have been telling us that it is spring for some time now, but this week it became official both by the calendar and the opening of Garden City High’s lacrosse season. After scrimmaging three nationally-ranked teams (St. Anthony’s, New Jersey champion Bridgewater-Raritan and Delbarton) in four days, the Trojans officially opened their 78th season by hosting Syosset and Carey. Tomorrow (Saturday) Suffolk Class A powerhouse Ward Melville visits Warren King Field at 1 p.m.

Syosset was the top-seeded team in Conference I ahead of defending State A Champ Farmingdale and Massapequa, but the Braves were no match for the Trojans. Led by Liam Kennedy, who had a career high six goals, Garden City jumped out to a 10-4 halftime lead and extended it to 13-4 after three periods before Coach Steve Finnell cleared his bench. The 13-8 final score was not indicative of the rout. Patric Berkery added two goals and three assists and Devin Dwyer had a goal and two assists as did Justin Guterding. Rob Savage had two goals and an assist and several pipe shots.

Garden City comes into the season as the six-time Nassau County Class B Champion – a record. In addition, the team will be out to win a third straight Long Island title. In each of the past two seasons, the Trojans advanced all the way to the state final where they lost to Jamesville-DeWitt – last year in overtime.

Coach Steve Finnell, beginning his sixth season with a record of 87-19, once again is challenging his squad with an extremely difficult non-league schedule. After opening with Division I contender Syosset, the Trojans host Ward Melville (tomorrow, 3/24). Later, non-league opponents will include St. Paul’s of Baltimore (3/31 away), Conestoga Pa. (at Haverford, 4/14), Duxbury, Ma. (home, 4/21), Suffolk B Champ Shoreham-Wading River (away, 4/28) and, of course, the Woodstick Classic vs. rival Manhasset at Garden City on 5/5. All of the opponents appear somewhere on national ranking lists with Garden City listed number 8 in pre-season.

“We want to play the best teams because it makes us better prepared to win championships. That’s the same formula we’ve followed,” Finnell said. Make no mistake, the Trojans will face plenty of competition in their own conference as well. Long Beach, down from Conference I, returns nearly all its key players from a 2011 playoff team and Wantagh is always a contender. And remember, at playoff time Manhasset is, like Garden City, a Class B team which sets up the possibility of a county final rematch.

To reach the goals, Coach Finnell must deal with the loss of some great players. “On defense, we graduated All-Americans Steve Jahelka and Brian Fischer (both at Harvard) plus J.P. Burnside and Matt Confort. We are fortunate to have Eugene Berkery and our outstanding goalie Dan Marino back, and we have some fine athletes competing for the other starting roles.” Among those are Ed Blatz, Scott D’Antonio, Pat Niebler, Kyle Skramko, and Tom Wright. Matt Cortese will back up Marino in goal.

“We have most of our offense back, including Devin Dwyer who is one of the best attackmen on Long Island, and Patric Berkery, who could play on anyone’s midfield,” Finnell said. Dwyer had 61 assists last year but his favorite target, Tom Gordon who scored 47 goals, has graduated. GC will look to Liam Kennedy and Berkery, who combined for 63 goals, to fill that void along with talented junior Justin Guterding and seniors Rob Savage and Mike Comiskey. Lucas Clay and Jack Worstel will also be in the mix. Speedsters Mark Ellis and Ryan Norton will bolster the midfield along with Conor McDonnell, Tim McDonagh (defensive middies), James Sullivan, Brian Badget and Cody George.

LAX NOTES: Though scores aren’t kept, GC was more than competitive in the scrimmages against top competition....Despite the equally tough schedule a year ago, the Trojans finished 19-3 which is a tough act to follow...Veteran coaches and officials agree that this is the warmest early spring that they can remember....Mark Ellis is recovering from a sore back and will miss several games....Sadly, Mike Lofrese, fresh off a brilliant wrestling season and being counted on as an attackman, suffered a season-ending knee injury before the first scrimmage...Ward Melville topped GC last year, but the Trojans lead the all-time series 5-2.


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