Garden City tops South Side on penalty kicks for Class A title
Garden City upset its archrival and two-time defending state champion South Side in a 5-3 round of penalty kicks Tuesday night to capture the Nassau Class A girls soccer title.
Thrilling, huh? And that wasn't even the dramatic part.
With 2:09 left in the second golden goal overtime, South Side lined a ball ticketed for the far left corner -- seemingly beyond Taylor Carpentier's reach -- that would have given the top-seeded Cyclones a 26th county championship.
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"The nerves rush through you," midfielder Haley O'Hanlon said, "and I'm thinking, 'Taylor, please, please, get a hand on that.'"
She couldn't. But Carpentier got her fingertips on the ball, lunging to her right and making a spectacular full dive to just deflect it from inside the post and keep the match scoreless.
"Probably the biggest pressure moment I've ever been in," the 5-10 Carpentier said. "At first I thought I could grab it, then at the last second I realized I had to just hope I could get a finger on it."
Not bad for a first-year goalkeeper . . . at least in soccer. The senior is a star goalie for the lacrosse team and had been a soccer forward, but necessity -- and a deal with coach Mike Heedles -- has her in net this season.
Carpentier made 16 saves for second-seeded Garden City in a performance Kelly George called "Legendary. Literally, legendary."
And that's coming from the freshman who had the winning penalty kick.
With Garden City up 4-3, George blasted a liner into the low left corner, sending her teammates into a frenzy and delivering the Trojans' first county championship since 2010. They went on to win the program's only state title that year.
"She's got power and a lot of confidence in herself, which makes us confident in her," O'Hanlon said of George. "Despite her age, we trust her in the clutch."
The Cyclones had won seven of the last nine state championships and usually went through Garden City en route. The teams split two regular-season meetings and Garden City gave South Side its first loss since 2011 back in October.
The Trojans (14-3-1) will face Sayville for the Long Island title 5 p.m. Saturday at Tully Park.
Sarah McCarthy made 11 saves for South Side (16-2-1). The Cyclones possessed the ball for most of the first half and extra periods. But Kerry Defliese, Deanna DiPierro and sisters Colette and Megan Seel led a defense that contained a star-studded offense.
Both teams had near misses, with shots going just wide of the goal. Then Katherine Malhame, Caroline Beaty, O'Hanlon, Deanna DiPierro and George gave the Trojans, well, a kick.
"This game was a brutal battle; it was insane," George said. "But the second that ball left my foot, I knew it was over -- we were champions."