CORTLAND, N.Y. - First, the winds changed, and then Katherine Galzerano changed the proverbial winds.
After a half of battling the swirling winds on their faces and coming up empty against Honeoye Falls-Lima at SUNY Cortland Sunday, the Garden City girls soccer team switched goals, turned their backs to the tempestuous currents and took the wind out of the Cougars' sails when Galzerano scored on Lauren Miesemer's assist with 17:30 left to give the Trojans a 1-0 win and their second Class A state title in four years.
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"It feels amazing," said Galzerano, a freshman. "I can't believe it. My heart was racing and everyone was cheering."
Haley O'Hanlon's throw-in skipped to Miesemer, who crossed it in into a scrum inside the box. With her back almost completely to the net, the ball tipped the inside of Galzerano's foot -- "might've even bounced off somebody," Miesemer said -- and squirted into the back left corner of the goal.
"I knew that was my job to get the flick-on," Miesemer said. "She really just needed to redirect it and that's exactly what she did. She did a great job finishing."
It was a fortuitous bounce on a terrible day for soccer. Slick conditions made ballhandling difficult, sweeper Deanna DiPierro said, and the Trojans (15-3-1) had difficulty delivering the big ball, which would often get caught in the wind and, at times, was even blown backward.
"The wind the first half was awful," said Kerry Difliese, in charge of being tough on HFL's biggest threat, forward Riley Bartoo. "We had to keep pushing through, but we knew [in the second half] we had the advantage of going down with the wind."
Each team had only one shot on goal in the first half -- Garden City's was on Caroline Beaty's rifle shot, stopped by perfectly positioned Claire VanNewkirk -- as the focus shifted to lockdown defense. With about 15 minutes left in the half, DiPierro shut down back-to-back attempts, one on a corner, and otherwise cleaned up whatever squeezed through the first line of Garden City's sweeper-stopper defense.
With Difliese shadowing Bartoo -- "they run everything through her," Difliese said -- HFL (21-1) was stymied at nearly every turn. With halftime came the Cougars' own ill wind, and "we could throw it back at them," she said.
The result, of course, was a championship-caliber turn of tide. "At the second half, we had the wind with us," DiPierro said. "We had the wind going against our backs."
And now, the sun on their faces.