The Garden City girls soccer team may have stumbled onto a great new weapon, and just in time for the start of the postseason.
Senior Mary Haggerty takes the corner kick and sophomore Renee Gollisz finds a window between opposing defenders and goes in for a header. The Trojans used the combo twice on Tuesday to score a 4-2 Nassau AB I victory over Manhasset at Garden City’s Warren King Field.
The win earned Garden City (7-4-4, 6-3-3) the No. 2 seeding for the county playoffs.
The duo performed the feat early in the first half from the left side for a 1-0 lead and again from the right side to snap a 2-2 tie and move to the lead for good. It looked like they’d been perfecting it all season, but this was the first time they’d connected.
“Claire [McGuire] is usually the one on the header, but she has 22 stitches in her forehead,” Trojans coach Mike Heedles said. “Mary places the ball perfectly every time and Renee happens to be excellent in the air. I think we’ll obviously be using that in the future.”
Lauren Vona took a nice ball from McGuire on the right wing in the 25th minute and placed a shot from about 18 yards over leaping Indians goalkeeper Alexis Lin for a 2-0 lead. Victoria Ernst redirected a shot by Alivia Gordon with about 18 minutes left to make it 4-2 for the Trojans. Madelleine O’Conner made 10 saves for GC.
Elizabeth Cruz bent a perfect direct kick between O’Connor and the cross bar to get the Indians within 2-1 at halftime and Nicolle Pullano made a steal and put a shot over O’Connor to tie the game five minutes into the second half. Lin had seven saves for Manhasset (6-9, 4-8), which maps out to get the No. 6 seeding.
“They’re good team playing a fast game that’s hard to handle,” Heedles said of Manhasset, which won their first meeting, 1-0. “We were able to capitalize on some restarts. And that’s going to be the name of the game as you get far into the playoffs, capitalizing on those restarts.”
Gollisz came back three weeks ago after a two weeks sidelined by a concussion, but took right back to using her head “because it’s always been part of my game.”
Of connecting with Haggerty, she added “she’s perfect — it’s right to my head every time.”
If it seems apropos that the combo should emerge now, as the Trojans have played better lately.
“We had a few ties and a few losses [early], but I think we’re playing some really good soccer right now,” Haggerty said. “We’ve been able to pass better [and] find each other better, but it’s really important that we just capitalize on every opportunity that arises.”