After losing in the 2019 county final and then having the entire 2020 season canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Garden City boys lacrosse team entered 2021 fueled by the thought of resuming the winner culture with which they had become synonymous.
And that fuel ultimately propelled the Trojans to yet another championship celebration on Wednesday.
Luke Schmitt had two goals and one assist, Bobby Seel and Ryan Connolly netted three goals each and Drew Quinn had seven saves as No. 1 Garden City took down No. 3 Carey, 11-8, in the Nassau Class B final at Mitchel Field to win its fourth county title over the past five seasons.
Knowing his program had already reached a dynastic level with championships from 2016-2018, Schmitt was happily surprised seeing Garden City return to familiar form again this year.
"It’s crazy, I did not think we were going to be here again," Schmitt said. "We worked really hard to be here this year and when we got here we knew what we had to do."
Garden City (12-3) will face Comsewogue in the Long Island Class B championship at East Islip Middle School on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Seel expounded on the foundation of Garden City’s winning culture.
"It’s just the structure we have," Seel said. "Every guy is accountable. Even when we were in quarantine we were all training and making sure that everyone was getting their work in."
Seel’s goal with 1.4 seconds left in the first gave the Trojans a 3-1 advantage entering the second. Schmitt later netted his second goal of the half with 1.1 seconds remaining in the second to give Garden City a 5-2 lead entering halftime.
With three unanswered goals to open the third quarter, capped off by Jimmy O’Connell’s fourth goal of the day at the 4:52 mark, Carey (9-6) swung the momentum and tied the score at 5. But the Trojans immediately regained their composure, responding with two goals in a 42-second span.
Seel then tacked on a goal with 2:05 left on an assist from Schmitt, and fired in another with 2.1 seconds to go, extending Garden City’s edge to 9-5 entering the fourth. The Seahawks came within 10-7 before Connolly notched his final goal with seven minutes remaining.
"The kids are just hungry," Garden City coach Steve Finnell said. "Every year as a staff we have a new team. We talked about doing this for the 2020 seniors who missed out on their season, and these kids have been outstanding."
After helping the Trojans add another county championship to their collection, Seel said maintaining their focus will be the message entering Saturday.
"Just stay humble," Seel said. "Celebrate for a night and then move on by tomorrow."