Winning tradition keeps state title at Garden City
It takes only two words to sum up dominance in girls lacrosse. Garden City.
Earlier this month, the Trojans defeated Bedford's Fox Lane, 20-10, to win their fifth straight state championship. To put that run into perspective, no one on the current team was even in high school when it started. But that's kind of the point.
Garden City doesn't start in junior varsity or junior high. The seeds of this year's title were planted way back in the third grade, when most of these girls started playing lacrosse.
"We have such a winning tradition at this school," said Barbara Sullivan, a junior who was named MVP of the state tournament. "It's great to be a part of. The main juniors on this team, we've been playing together forever."
Garden City is so deep and so talented that junior Caroline Tarzian was a virtual unknown in a sea of Garden City stars before the season. She stepped into a bigger role and wound up leading the team, and Nassau Conference I, with 84 goals and 124 points. Tarzian still seemed a little overwhelmed by it all, but saw the reason for the team's success.
"Our team is just so close," she said. "But it's really all more than any of us could ever imagine."
Look at the stands when Garden City plays and you'll see patches of maroon, elementary school girls watching their idols and dreaming of playing on that same turf.
"At our home games you have all these girls sitting there," senior Shannon Mangini said. "They're wearing the same shirts as us, just smaller."
Maybe someday they can be like seniors Mangini, Shannon Defliese and Mariah Pewarski, a trio that went to Cortland every year of high school and never had a lacrosse season end without a state title.
Those three were the face of 12 seniors who provided immeasurable leadership this season.
"Since there are so many of us we've really worked with the younger players to build the team," Defliese said. "When the starters need to go out and the bench comes in, everyone knows how to play."
The latest title was sweetest because it came attached to an undefeated season. From an early season trip to Maryland where the Trojans beat national powers Mt. Hebron and South River by two and one goals respectively to a one-goal semifinal win over Canandaigua to the rout in the title game, Garden City stayed focused on one goal.
"These girls want to be the best," coach Diane Chapman said. "In any sport, at any level there's always going to be a team ahead of you."
This year that might be one team, McDonogh (Pomfret, Mary.), which was ranked No. 1 in the country all season. Garden City will likely finish No. 2, despite defeating both other New York State champions (Farmingdale and Shoreham-Wading River), as well as the Maryland teams and Connecticut powerhouse Darien.
Of course the only title Garden City won't win this year is the one they can't settle on the field.