By Jeffrey Bessen
LILacrosseNews.com, Posted 5/5/12
A carnival-like atmosphere encircled Warren King Field on the Garden City High School campus, and the host Trojans boys’ lacrosse kept the fun going today for their fans in a 9-3 victory over the Manhasset Indians in the 122nd Woodstick Classic.
The contest – the longest uninterrupted public schools rivalry game in the nation – was supplemented by Military Appreciation Day and several exhibitor booths, including the U.S. Marines outside the field area. Proceeds from the game will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that provides programs and services to severely injured military members as they transition from the service to civilian life.
Described as a “friendly, tough rivalry with a lot of respect,” by one fan, the game showcased two of the best Long Island lacrosse programs. Garden City, now 13-0 overall and 7-0 in Nassau County Conference II, is the top ranked team in the LILacrosse News.com rankings and rated No. 1 in the country in every national poll. Manhasset, now 9-4 overall and 7-0 in Nassau’s Conference III, has been in the LILacrosseNews.com Top 10 all season.
Garden City got off to a fast start as 57 seconds into the game senior midfielder Patric Berkery scored unassisted against Manhasset’s Evan Molloy (5 saves).
“It’s always good to get early goals, it gives you momentum,” said Berkery, who tallied twice in the first half.
With the Trojans controlling possession and not allowing the Indians a chance to generate much offense, another senior middie, Ryan Norton knocked in the first of his two goals, also unassisted at the 6:29 mark.
It wasn’t until a little more than four minutes remaining in the first period that Manhasset grabbed possession of the ball, but goalie Dan Marino (5 saves) denied the Indians.
Senior midfielder Rob Savage dished to Norton, who fed junior attack Justin Guterding perfectly for a shot and goal that went in with 18.8 seconds left in the first quarter.
“We didn’t really try to slow it down on their defense, we tried to keep that fast pace and we all know with our great stick skills our offense is the key to our success so far, so we just have to keep rolling into the playoffs,” said Guterding, who had a pair of goals and an assist.
The battle within the game was between Garden City’s senior attack Devin Dwyer and Manhasset senior defender Bobby Dunvjak. Despite Duvnjak’s great work on Dwyer, who was only noted for a first period penalty, the Trojans kept rolling in the second with another three goals.
“That’s what we were hoping for and that’s what Bobby is capable of,” said Indian head coach Bill Cherry. “We were hoping to shut Guty down too.”
That didn’t happen as first sophomore midfielder Cody George made it 4-0 at the 8:10 mark of the second period. Less than two minutes later, Guty, Guterding passed to senior attack Liam Kennedy to make it 5-0.
“They buried the ball when they had the opportunities,” Cherry said.
Guterding lifted Garden City to a 7-0 lead in the third before Manhasset junior middie Sean Grimm tallied as the ball trickled past Marino. The senior goalie missed the final 5:08 of the first half when Duvnjak slammed into him in the crease. The goal was disallowed.
However, the Indians did show some fight as they cut the deficit to 7-3 with goals by Tommy Wenk and an unassisted score by Grimm. The difference in the third period, Cherry said, was that his team began sliding early. But miscues hurt his team.
“We had a lot of unforced turnovers, how many times did we throw the ball away, you can’t do that,” said Cherry. “That was the difference in the game.”
Garden City has won the last three Wood Stick games, but Manhasset continues to lead the rivalry series 67-55. “It’s obviously a huge event and now we added the troops in,” Guterding said. “We had someone (from the Marines) speak to us before the game and it kind of motivated us.”