Garden City owned the tradition with four straight trips to the Nassau Class A final and two championships, including a share of the crown last season. But the Carey Seahawks took the bus over on Monday, stepped out on the Trojans’ home turf and made a loud statement:
Add us to the list of prime contenders.
Alessandro Perna scored a goal in each half to help them beat Garden City, 2-0, in a soccer match featuring the only two Nassau Conference A-II teams that were unbeaten at the start of the afternoon.
"I think when you have a team that fights this hard, you’re always in contention," coach Matt Princi said.
Carey had been looking forward to this meeting.
"Any time you go in against the defending champs, you know it’s going to be a great test," Princi said. "We’ve been playing well all season long, but until you come across an opponent like this, you’re not really sure how it’s going to end up."
The Seahawks, who ended up losing in the quarterfinals in the spring, improved to 6-0 overall and in A-II. They dropped Garden City to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in A-II.
"It shows that we can go as far as we want," Perna said. "As long as we keep playing like this, I think we can beat anyone."
After a foul in the box, he took a penalty kick against James Castoro. Perna rocketed it into the left side of the net. Only 3:41 had passed.
"He’s a very dynamic player with a lot of skill," Princi said.
The senior attacking center midfielder showed that again in the second half, sailing a shot over Castoro from about 30 yards out with 17:39 left.
"I saw the opening and I just hit as hard as I could," Perna said.
At the other end, senior center back Colin Gervasi played a "phenomenal" game in Princi’s view.
Gino Cervoni turned in steady work, too. The senior goalkeeper made five saves for his third clean sheet in five starts. He said Carey’s defenders were "very composed."
"I’ve got a solid backline," Cervoni said, "so I don’t really got to worry about many balls coming through."
Trojans coach Paul Cutter said perhaps his team’s "intensity wasn’t quite there."
"I thought we were beaten by a better team today," Cutter said. "They worked a little harder than us."