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Garden City’s quest for state title falls short in semifinal loss

Garden City's Ethan Senatore, left, shields the ball

Garden City's Ethan Senatore, left, shields the ball from Queensbury's Ray Jones during a state Class A boys soccer semifinal on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 in Middletown. Credit: Adrian Kraus

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — For the better part of 73-plus minutes, the Garden City boys soccer team gave unbeaten and untied Queensbury all it could handle and then some.

But the Trojans never found the back of the net despite taking more than twice as many shots as Queensbury in the state Class A semifinals.

The Spartans scored twice in the final 6 minutes and 42 seconds as Garden City lost a heart breaker, 2-0, at Middletown High School on Saturday.

Queensbury (22-0) advances to Sunday’s state final at Middletown High School. Garden City, who started five sophomores most of the year, ends a remarkable season 13-3-5.

“I think we all thought we had the game in our hands but we couldn’t put away the chances in the end,” said Garden City junior goalkeeper Joe Griffin, who had five saves. “It just slipped out from us.”

The Trojans outshot Queensbury, 7-1, in the first half and 10-1 midway through the second half. Garden City was called offside deep in its offensive end with about seven minutes remaining of a game that seemed headed for overtime.

Queensbury quickly countered, and took a shot that deflected to the far post towards the Spartans’ Peter Crawford. The sophomore appeared to be ahead of Garden City defenders, which would be an offsides. The Garden City players paused for a second but no flag came from the sideline official. Crawford scored with 6:42 remaining to give Queensbury a 1-0 lead on just its fourth shot.

It was the first goal Garden City had allowed in six playoff games, a span of 503 minutes and 18 seconds.

“I thought he was offside,” Griffin said. “I couldn’t get to him because I was on the other side of the goal, but he looked to be offside.”

Garden City continued to push forward and looked for the equalizer, but it never came. Queensbury’s Greg Maccharulo added the final dagger with 73 seconds left.

Trojans coach Paul Cutter refused to let one play be the turning point of this year.

“I hate to put it down to one decision,” said Cutter, referring to the potential offside call. “We had 79 other minutes to get it done.

“I don’t want to walk away with the defining moment of our season being an offside call. I’m proud of what we did all season long.”

Griffin, for one, knows what he’ll be thinking about on the bus ride home to Garden City.

“I think we had a very good season, and a hell of an end to the season (in the Nassau playoffs and Long Island championship game),” said Griffin. “We’re just sad we couldn’t take it all the way.”

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