Tim Schmelzinger put his myriad athletic skills on display Thursday night.
The Garden City senior, a standout quarterback, wrestler and midfielder, was elusive in scoring two goals with an assist and persistent in battling for loose balls as the Trojans defeated South Side, 9-3, in a Nassau B semifinal at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
“He’s one of the best athletes in the county,” Garden City coach Steve Finnell said of Schmelzinger, one of only six seniors on a team that will face long-time rival Manhasset on Tuesday at 3:30 at Hofstra for the county “B’’ championship.
“We’re a small bunch of seniors,” Schmelzinger said, “but I couldn’t be prouder. We do a great job of constantly pushing the other players. It all starts in practice.”
Juniors J.P. Basile (one goal, three assists) and Jamie Atkinson (two goals, one assist) also contributed as Garden City improved to 13-5 with its 10th straight victory. South Side finished 11-7.
Garden City scored four straight goals — by Phil Puccio, Basile, Schmelzinger and Atkinson — to take control at 6-2 in the third quarter. Said Basile, “I like to think of myself as a feeder, but Coach is always telling me to go to the cage.”
The Trojans dominated the second half with a balanced offense and a defense that allowed only one late fourth-quarter goal. “South Side is well-coached and did a good job in the first half,” Finnell said. “We took better care of the ball in the second half. And our man-down defense did a good job.”
Garden City killed off a one-minute penalty early in the third quarter when it was a 4-2 game. “That was a big momentum switch,” Finnell said. “Then we get two goals and now it’s 6-2.”
The Cyclones’ Ryan Langdon scored his second goal with 2:03 left in the third to make it 6-3, but the Trojans pulled away with three straight early in the fourth quarter by Sean Dillmeier, Luke Keating and Atkinson.
That sets up a rematch with Manhasset. Garden City won the regular-season meeting, 9-7, on April 30 in the Woodstick Classic. The stakes are much higher on Tuesday. “We’ve waited all year for this one,” Basile said. “It’s the biggest game.”