By Tom Peace
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/15/12
Garden City (N.Y.) senior attackman Devin Dwyer proved to be the key ingredient in helping the Trojans topple No. 1 Conestoga, 12-11, Saturday in front of a boisterous crowd at the Checking For Cancer Lacrosse Invitational at Haverford School.
Dwyer finished with nine points (three goals, six assists) for Garden City, which also got key contributions from fellow seniors Justin Guterding (three goals, two assists) and Liam Kennedy (two goals).
Garden City improved to 7-0 and could move to the No. 1 spot in the national polls. Conestoga, ranked first in every national poll and in the PA Media Rankings, is 7-1.
The Trojans led most of the way and held a 12-9 lead until the Pioneers staged another of their classic comebacks. The rally ended with less than a minute to play when senior standout Bradlee Lord (three goals) was thwarted on a doge attempt.
“Our offense can be really powerful when we are on,’ said Dwyer. “Today I was just the lucky guy getting the opportunities to put them away. It feels great.”
Garden City and Conestoga traded goals to open the highly anticipated matchup. The Explorers then took the 2-1 lead as Adam Goins scored his first of three goals. With under a minute to play in the first quarter Dwyer managed to answer back with a man up unassisted goal to tie the game at 2-2.
Then with 12.8 seconds left in the period Dwyer found junior Brian Badgett for the go ahead score. Conestoga wouldn’t be able to find the lead for the rest of the game.
The Trojans defense stepped up big as well as goalie Dan Marino who had eight saves. Though, it was the high powered offense of Garden City that managed to keep the Trojans ahead.
“Our defense was confident all game,” said Marino. “On 6-on-6 they weren’t getting much on us; we made a few mistakes on the man down but it was really great, I couldn’t ask for anything more from the way we played today.”
Throughout the second quarter the Pioneers found themselves trying to chip away at Garden City’s lead. But every time Conestoga managed to tie the game, the Trojans answered back right away to retake the lead.
The Pioneers had the momentum heading into halftime as Connor Frisina scored with a diving shot atop of the crease to tie it, 7-7.
“We are very resilient,” said Garden City coach Steve Finnell on his team not giving up when Conestoga came back several times. “We talk to the kids last night about the idea of how you could go up by three or be down by three, you are going to have to keep playing. And that was very clear today.”
The Trojans gave Conestoga even more of an open door to take the lead early in the third quarter when Garden City was flagged for an illegal check. But even then Conestoga couldn’t prevent the Trojans from taking the lead again as Kennedy fed Guterding on transition and the future Duke Blue Devil scored the man down goal.
Then a little over a minute later Guterding returned the favor and found teamed up with Kennedy for the score and to give the Trojans the two-goal lead. Guterding would again score before the end of the third to make it 10-7.
“That attack group at times was too much for our defense,” Conestoga coach Brian Samson said. “And we were undisciplined. You could see that in the penalties we took. Credit that attack they did a great job.”
Dwyer said it was a thrill to play before the big stage and have his tem stake claim as the top club in the nation.
“Our coaches did an unbelievable job preparing us and we executed great,” said Dwyer. “It was getting scary standing at the midfield line praying our defense would (hold them). But I had confidence we could.
“It was an awesome win.”
Garden City (7-0) entered play ranked No. 4 by ESPNHS, No. 5 by Inside Lacrosse and No. 6 by MaxPreps.com. The Pioneers had been No. 1 since topping former No. 1 Calvert Hall on March 23.
Samson felt the pressure of being the number No. 1 was not a factor. He made no excuses – despite his team missing a few key players to injury – and he was proud of his team’s ability to rally and handle adversity.
“The one thing I love about my team is they aren’t scared of losing, they leave it all out there,” he said. “We have tough kids, they are making plays for 48 minutes, and the effort is what’s great. We have guys that can battle and get through adversity.”
Garden City 12, Conestoga 11
Devin Dwyer 3g, 6a
Justin Guterding 3g, 2a
Liam Kennedy 2g, 1a
Lucas Clay 1g
Rob Savage 1g
Brian Badgett 1g
Patric Berkery 1g
Adam Goins 3g
Bradlee Lord 3g
Connor Frisina 2g, 1a
Jake Scott 1g
Jordan Klunder 1g
Tyler Brooke 1g, 2a
Garden City — Dan Marino, 8 saves.