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Getting Down To The Wire

The Garden City girls’ soccer team won their second Nassau County Championship in four years with a shootout victory over South Side at the Denton Avenue field. Coach Mike Heedles and assistant coach Scott McCauley both knew before the game that the girls were loose and ready to play on Tuesday night. What they didn’t know was would that be enough against a talented team like South Side, the two time defending State Champions. The girls answered any doubt with a resounding victory after 110 minutes of physical, well-played soccer and five perfect penalty kicks.

Perfect may sound a little over the top but may be an understatement in this case. After an 80-minute match, two 10-minute overtime periods and two five-minute golden goal periods, and some very tired legs, the game went into a penalty kick format. With each team sending five players to the eleven meter spot to decide the match. According to McCauley he knew each of the Garden City girls had picked their spot for the shot and just needed to execute. One by one they stepped up to the ball and buried their kick. Katherine Malhame, Caroline Beaty, Haley O’Hanlon, Deanna DiPierro and finally freshman Kelly George executed perfectly.

Defensively, Trojan keeper Nicole Chtchekine stepped up to the line to face the South Side shooters. Chtchekine was in goal for the penalty kicks because as Heedles noted before the game ‘Nicole has the knack for diving and getting to the ball.’ Heedles had made his decision during the week — Taylor Carpentier would get the game but Chtchekine would be in the goal if the game went to penalties. Although he almost made a switch because of the excellent game Carpentier had, he stuck to the plan and it couldn’t have worked any better.

The regulation game ended 0-0 after both teams had several good opportunities down the stretch. Garden City may have had more of the play in the first half but South Side controlled more of the ball in the second half and overtimes. Lady Trojans keeper Carpentier and sweeper DiPierro and defenders Collete Seel and Megan Seel were able to keep South Side off the score sheet by utilizing their speed and tenacity. Add the superb play in the middle by stoppers Katherine Galzerano and Kerry DeFliese and you get a formula for a shutout, the twelfth this season for the Lady Trojans.

Carpentier was credited with 16 saves, none more important than a fingertip save in the closing minutes of the last OT period. Having a distinct height advantage she was also able to turn aside six dangerous corner kicks during the match.  

DeFliese, Galzerano and O’Hanlon took turns defending against the Cyclones star offensive weapon Christina Klaum and had her totally off balance throughout the match, allowing her to control the ball in the midfield but never giving an inch when it mattered. Klaum tried her best to draw fouls late in the game but the refs wouldn’t have anything to do with it and the frustration could be seen as the game wore on.

The Garden City girls have put together another terrific season for coach Heedles. Throughout the season Heedles had the girls playing strong two-way soccer utilizing his entire roster, and that carried through to the playoffs. With an 8-3-1 Conference record that was good for a second place finish in Conference A1, the Lady Trojans secured the second seed in the playoffs.

With four straight shutouts in the playoffs, and an overall 14-3-1 record, the Trojans have brought home their first County title since 2010 — the year of their magical run to a State Championship. Capitalizing on some great defense down the stretch mixed in with timely scoring, the girls have left their mark on the 2013 season.

In a sequel to the Garden City team that beat Sayville in the magical run of 2010, the Lady Trojans once again met the Golden Flashes  for the Long Island Championship on Saturday, Nov. 9. A “golden goal” scored  with 2:02 left in the second sudden death overtime period by Lauren Miesemer, gave Garden City the 1-0 victory over Sayville. The girls head to the state semifinals in Cortland on Friday, Nov. 15 with a chance to repeat the results of their 2010 predecessors.