Garden City Boys Lacrosse Finishes As Nation's Top Ranked team after Winning NY State Title With 11-4 Victory Over Irondequoit
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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
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.
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.