It was the rematch Carle Place field hockey was waiting to play for a month.
“Once we lost that game — as soon as we stepped on the bus — we are were like, ‘We are going to come back on our home field and show them what we’re made of,’ ” said Carle Place goalkeeper Megan McGuinness about its loss to Garden City on September 13.
On Friday the Frogs got their revenge against powerhouse Garden City with a 2-1 victory fueled by Julia Pascarella’s two goals and 24 saves by McGuinness.
“This is huge because Garden City is No. 1 in the power leagues,” said assistant coach Tricia Nesdill, daughter of head coach Carol Nesdill. “It was like a David and Goliath matchup.”
Carle Place (7-1, Nassau Conference I) scored 4:30 into the game off Pascarella’s penalty corner to take a 1-0 lead.
“That first goal I feel set the tone,” McGuiness said, “and that’s when everyone was like ‘We can play with them, we can stay with them, we can beat them.’ ”
Ella Heaney responded for Garden City with a goal off an assist from Taylor Gladd with 17:43 remaining in the first half to tie it at 1.
But with 8:38 remaining in the first half, Pascarella struck again, this time off a scramble in front of the net and a pass from Gianna McKeough, to give Carle Place a 2-1 lead.
“Her stick skills are unbelievable,” Tricia Nesdill said about the freshman Pascarella. “She changes speed, she’s very fast.”
McGuinness took over the game from there. Even with constant pressure by Garden City, McGuinness remained unfazed.
“She was unbelievable,” Tricia Nesdill said. “She was amazing. Twenty-four saves is a lot of shots. She was like a brick wall.”
And McGuinness realized from early on that she was in store for a special performance.
“Once I made the first saves, I was like, “It’s on,’” she said. “The adrenaline started pumping.”
Garden City, which hasn’t lost two regular-season games in a season since 2013 has lost two straight. But the Trojans still represent one of the top programs on Long Island, so Carle Place’s win provides an extra confident boost for the team with the postseason approaching.
“I feel like now that we realize we can play against these intense skilled teams, we can play up to them,” McGuiness said. “Play together and put our hearts together and nothing can beat us.”