Junior Andrew Schneider said his Garden City team “still had nightmares” thinking about last season’s Nassau Class A boys soccer final, in which Mepham beat the Trojans, 1-0.
Following their first meeting with the Pirates this season, Schneider and Garden City ensured they would sleep easier on Monday night.
“After losing to them in the county final last year, this was about setting the tone for the rest of the season,” said Schneider, who scored two goals in the visiting Trojans’ 6-0 victory in Nassau A-I.
Schneider doubled Garden City’s lead to 2-0 at the 5:02 mark of the first half after firing a shot from the right side past the goalkeeper inside the 18-yard box. He stretched the Trojans’ advantage to 3-0 early in the second half after heading in the ball from just in front of the net with 28:01 to go.
Both teams entered the match undefeated in conference play. Garden City improved to 8-0-1 and Mepham dropped to 3-1-5.
Joseph Bernieri also netted two goals for the Trojans. He connected on a strike from about 30 yards out with just under 24 minutes remaining in the first half to open the scoring and struck again from deep for the final goal with 8:49 left.
“I was just finding myself in good spaces and my teammates found me the ball,” Bernieri said.
Garden City controlled possession throughout and two missed opportunities by Mepham early on proved to be crucial. The Pirates were unable to convert on an open net with just under 23 minutes left in the first half following a Garden City miscue. Goalkeeper Joe Griffin deflected a shot at the net in the following minute to maintain Garden City’s two-goal advantage.
“Our defense has been solid all season long,” said Owen Heaney, who scored his 17th goal of the season and also had an assist. “We have a lot of confidence in them, including the goalie distribution to the backs.”
Brendan Haggerty headed in a cross less than eight minutes after Schneider’s second goal, putting the Trojans ahead 4-0. Haggerty also had an assist.
Garden City coach Paul Cutter said the match was not only about putting last season’s county final behind them, but also seeing how the team stacked up this late in the regular season.
“This was definitely a test,” Cutter said. “They’re a very well-coached team. They’re organized and have no quit.”