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Garden City's next big test: Ward Melville

Garden City attacker Justin Guterding controls the ball

Garden City attacker Justin Guterding controls the ball against Syosset in the Nassau non-league boys lacrosse game. (March 19, 2013) (Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke)

Ward Melville hasn’t scored less than 14 goals in a game yet this season, and that’s a fact Garden City coach Steve Finnell knows all too well heading into Saturday’s matchup.

“You look at this on paper, and they’re better than us,” said Finnell.

Ward Melville’s Jack Bruckner, Danny Bucaro and Christian Mazzone each have scored more than 20 goals with 10 assists so far this season. Garden City’s defense, led by Ed Blatz, will have the daunting task of containing the trio when the teams play Saturday at 1 p.m. at Ward Melville (8-0).

Winning faceoffs can help Garden City (6-1) control the ball and keep it away from Ward Melville’s capable hands. Usually, Garden City would have an advantage heading into a game with James Sullivan taking faceoffs, but Ward Melville’s Jack Bruckner is just as good.

Win or lose, Finnell said, his team is looking forward to the matchup and added the team’s only loss this season, against LaSalle (Penn.), — which ended Garden City's 24-game win streak that dated back to the 2011 New York State Championship game — exploited weaknesses and made them a stronger team.

“We got tested against LaSalle, which is a very good team,” Finnell said. “I think we responded pretty well afterward.”

The Trojans won four straight since that loss on March 30, outscoring opponents 48-7 during that span. Justin Guterding, Garden City’s top offensive threat, has 13 goals in his last three games, and the gritty play of Brian Badgett is something Finnell pointed to as a difference-maker so far this year.

Tags: boys lacrosse , garden city , ward melville , justin guterding , james sullivan , steve finnell , brian badgett , ed blatz , Jack Bruckner , Danny Bucaro , Christian Mazzone

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