After a season of ups and downs, the Garden City Girls Varsity Soccer team wanted to build on the momentum of its end of season two game winning streak as it entered playoffs. On Tuesday, April 20th, fourth seeded Garden City triumphed in the first-round playoff against thirteenth ranked New Hyde Park. Excitement started just 36 seconds into the game with a free kick score by senior captain Kelly Brennan. The score would remain 1-0 for the remainder of the 79 minutes of play giving Garden City the victory. Garden City controlled the offensive play keeping the ball primarily in NHP end of the field. Keeper Maddie O’Connor had another stand-out performance in goal with 7 saves.
Garden City continued its playoff streak with a win in the quarter finals over fifth ranked Wantagh on Thursday, April 22nd. Garden City had beaten Wantagh twice in the regular season and was looking for their third victory. Wantagh was first to put points on the board with a goal at the 28 minute mark. Emily Romeo with the help of the Trojan offense and defense answered to tie the game 1-1. With a little over three minutes left in the first half, the Trojans were fouled resulting in a free kick. Senior Captain Kelly Brennan sailed the ball right into the net bringing the lead 2-1 into halftime. Six minutes into the second half, Isabella Vona scored to widen the lead over Wantagh to 3-1. Goalie Maddie O’Connor was a brick wall stopping 8 attempts on goal. The remainder of the game saw offense and defense powering to keep the lead and ultimately securing a spot in the semi-finals.
On Monday, April 26th, Garden City faced off in the semi-finals against top ranked and undefeated MacArthur Generals. MacArthur had beaten the Lady Trojans twice in the regular season. This tough Garden City team came pumped up and ready for a fight, determined to leave everything on the field. The stands were filled with Garden City fans armed with cowbells and ready to cheer the girls onto a victory. The girls took to the field on fire with strikers Isabella Vona and Emily Romeo aggressively fighting through the MacArthur defense coming up with a goal in the first half. Midfielders, captain Juliana Santel, Alivia Gordon, Samantha Mejia, Maya Costa, Caitlin McNaboe, Cat Hayes, and Lauren Hohenberger, controlled the pace of the game and were up and down the field turning quick defensive stops into opportunities to attack. Maddie O’Connor, with 7 saves, was the backbone of an outstanding defense led by Captains Kelly Brennan and Sydney Ehrhart and supported by Riley O’Rourke and Renee Gollisz. This stellar defense managed to keep the MacArthur offense at bay most of the game. With about six minutes left in the game, the Lady Generals were given a free kick, which landed just inside the far post giving MacArthur the tie score 1-1. The Trojans were not thwarted and their play intensity crescendoed. With a little over three minutes left in the game, Garden City was unlucky with a seemingly mild foul that resulted in a red card, much to the outrage of the team and fans. This meant the Trojans regrettably had to finish the remainder of the game down a player. After a thrilling 80 minutes of play, the teams ended in a 1-1 tie in regulation time.
Nassau County playoffs require that in the case of a tie, two full ten minute overtimes are played. Unfortunately, the red card still held and the Trojans had to face this double overtime down a player, which was no easy feat against the unbeaten MacArthur. The girls continued to battle throughout the first ten minute overtime ending still tied. With a little over five minutes left in the second overtime, MacArthur midfielders took a shot which landed in the net to put the Generals ahead of the Trojans for the first time the entire match. Despite several chances on goal, the Trojans ended double overtime in a heartbreaking loss 2-1, effectively ending their playoff run.
The girls should be applauded for a hard-fought game where they really did leave it all on the field. Best of luck to the eight seniors heading off to college next year and showing true leadership all season: captain Sydney Ehrhart, captain Juliana Santel, captain Kelly Brennan, keeper Maddy O’Connor, Kaelin Haggarty, Lauren McDonald, Victoria Schiraldi, and Angie Suau.
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