Garden City’s engine was running on all cylinders against Hewlett in a Nassau Class B boys’ lacrosse playoff quarterfinal at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium on May 16. The defending county champion Trojans got five goals and four assists from Justin Guterding and let off the gas in the second half of a 12-3 victory.
“I’ve see them play eight times this season, and this is the sharpest they’ve played,” Hewlett coach Adam Hopkins said of Garden City, which advanced to meet Long Beach in the semifinals.
“Any mistakes you make against a team like this can’t lead to goals,” he added. “We can’t say it’s not disappointing, but we have to think back at all the good things we accomplished this season.”
The Bulldogs, who finished 9-8 overall and knocked off Jericho in the first round of the playoffs, got goals from senior Mark Schweitzer and juniors Jimmy Anderson and Kevin Fuchs. “We broke the game down as much as we could,” Hopkins said. “We approached it as 48 individual one-minute battles.”
Hewlett trailed just 2-1 after nine minutes and enjoyed a slim shot advantage. Guterding opened the scoring at the 4:22 mark following a giveaway, and found the net 37 seconds later for a 2-0 lead. Anderson cut the margin in half with an unassisted goal at 7:20, but goals by James Sullivan and Guterding reopened the cushion to four by quarter’s end.
In the second quarter, Guterding picked up where he left off. He bounced a shot just under the crossbar from 10 yards out to make it 5-1. After Fuchs scored unassisted, Garden City closed the half with five straight goals to lead 10-2 at intermission.
“Guterding was really on,” Hopkins said. “When a player of his caliber is on his ‘A’ game, it makes things that much tougher.”
Senior goalie Justin Isaacs made nine saves, giving him 22 in two playoff games. He was stellar against Jericho, Hopkins said, which came to Hewlett with an impressive offense and was held to just three goals through three quarters in an 8-6 defeat. Senior Zach Richman and junior Gianluca Vardaro both had a hat trick to lead the Bulldogs.
“We knew we needed a strong defensive effort to beat Jericho,” Hopkins said. “They’re a good team with offensive depth. We saw they had a handful of players with more than 40 points.”
As they have all season, Hopkins said seniors Logan Calman and Jordan Davis, junior Michael Rubino and sophomore long pole Malcolm Kahn led the defense in front of Isaacs. “They were our workhorses back there,” Hopkins said.
Hewlett outscored the Jayhawks 4-3 in each half. Anderson (one goal, two assists), junior Gio Pugliese (one goal) and freshman Jared Strauss (two assists) chipped in offensively.
“We’re saying goodbye to a great group of seniors,” Hopkins said. “We had a good mix of kids, and all of them came to work every day. We’ll look forward to next year when some of the younger guys step into bigger roles.”