What was nothing more than a daydream in the third grade became a reality for Garden City senior attack Lucas Clay Tuesday when his best friend, Brian Badgett, a senior midfielder, assisted on his three goals in Clay's first career varsity start.
The Clay-Badgett tandem's goals and senior attack Justin Guterding's hat trick propelled Garden City to an 8-4 win over Syosset. Garden City is last year's Nassau B champion. Syosset is the defending Nassau A champion and it was in the non-league opener for both teams.
"Being a senior and starting for my first time on varsity is tremendous pressure," Clay said. "It's a lot of nerves, but I play well under pressure."
Facing Syosset goalkeeper Ryan Feit, who is headed to John Hopkins next season and recorded 14 saves in the game, didn't make things easy for Clay and company. It was a good thing his friend Badgett found him.
"He's my best friend off the field so we have that chemistry going," Badgett said. "Coach told us in practice that the goalie is really good and there's not much you can do besides shoot where he's not. The best shots you can get are right on the crease one-on-one. We tried to get quick little shots."
The game was scheduled to be at Syosset but Monday's weather muddied the grass field and caused the move to Garden City. Syosset's defense held Garden City in check in the first quarter by allowing only five shots, though Clay and Badgett hooked up for the first of their goals as Syosset took a 2-1 lead.
Guterding scored two goals during the first five minutes of the second quarter that made it 3-3, and Garden City led 5-3 at the half. The Clay-Badgett duo connected on two other goals in the second half to help seal Garden City's 23rd consecutive victory dating to last year.
Coach Steve Finnell said he will count on Clay and Badgett to play well alongside Guterding. "I told the guys we're 1-0 for 2013. 2012 is done so I think we're trying to build on this," Finnell said. "The non-league schedule is supposed to challenge us and it will."