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Owen Heaney’s free kick pays off for Garden City

Garden City sophomore Owen Heaney scored the game's only goal and talked after the Trojans' 1-0 win against Hauppauge in the Long Island Class A boys soccer final at Mitchel Athletic Complex. (Credit: Newsday / John Boell)

Owen Heaney had not taken a free kick for the Garden City boys soccer team all season.

Maybe after Sunday he’ll start taking more.

The Trojan sophomore sent a left-footed free kick into the upper-left corner in the 45th minute for the game’s only goal as Garden City defeated Hauppauge, 1-0, in the Class A Long Island final at Mitchel Athletic Complex.

Although, officially, there was no assist on the goal, Heaney did have some help from a teammate.

“I’m the only left-footed shot on the team and [senior captain] Luke asked, ‘You want . . . ,’ ” Heaney said . “I was like, ‘I’ll do anything for the team.’ ”

Heaney changed his mind about where he was going to place his shot right before he approached the ball.

“I was thinking near post at first, but I saw the goalie was edging me to the far post,” said Heaney, who has five goals and two assists this season. “I’ve taken that shot a 100 times — far post curling with the left foot.

“I knew I had good contact on it. I saw it curling, and I had a feeling it was going in.”

Garden City (13-2-5) didn’t record a shot until there was 1:31 left in a scoreless first half. The Trojans finished the game with eight shots. Meanwhile, Hauppauge (17-2) had nine shots in the first half alone, but Trojans goalkeeper Joe Griffin was up to the challenge with five saves. He ended the night with 12 stops.

Hauppauge keeper Ryan Levenberg had five saves, and the Eagles had 17 shots for the game but could not beat Griffin. The Garden City defense has not allowed a goal in five postseason games, a span of 430 minutes.

“The kid is just a special kid and a special keeper,” said Trojans coach Paul Cutter about Griffin. “He barely says a word. All season he’s just get in and works hard. He just gets it done.”

Garden City, which won its first Long Island title since 1996, meets Queensbury in a state semifinal at 4:15 p.m. Saturday in Middletown.

“We’ve been saying this is a team of destiny,” said Heaney, who missed the first few weeks of the season with a bone bruise on his right ankle. “We had no right to win a county title, let alone go up to states with this team. We knew this would be a strong team, but not this strong. It’s incredible.”

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