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Mackenzie Wehrum, Garden City defense stand tall in field hockey win over Locust Valley

Olivia Kaval of Garden City, left, and goalie

Olivia Kaval of Garden City, left, and goalie Mackenzie Wehrum celebrate after their team's 4-0 field hockey win over Locust Valley on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. Credit: James Escher

File this under ‘field hockey oddities.’

A case can be made that Garden City won their Nassau I contest against Locust Valley Tuesday afternoon in the only quarter where they did not score.

Yes, the hosting Trojans walked away 4-0 winners. And yes, it was an afternoon filled with precise, and sometimes wide open, Garden City offense. But, it was their defense in the second quarter that prevented any gut-clenching final minutes or doubt among the assembled Garden City masked masses.

Garden City (12-0) stopped three Locust Valley (10-2) corners in the final two minutes of the second to keep a 1-0 advantage. They held the Falcons scoreless in a quarter where they dominated possession and tried everything they could to get one past Garden City goalie Mackenzie Wehrum, who made four saves in the win and was under constant duress in the second quarter.

"Our defense is a strong brick wall unit," said Julia Sharp, who scored in the third quarter.

Added Wehrum: "The pressure was big during that time, but I had a strong line of defense and I was confident in my players that they would get back and mark their girls."

Garden City took an early lead with a lofting goal by Sarah Killcommons two minutes into the game. Killcommons took the ball off a corner from 15 yards out and flew it over the defense and into the net.

"We’ve been practicing that goal for a couple days, thinking that creating chaos [would] kind of throw them off their game, set the tone, and surprise them," Killcommons said. "…[We wanted to] create something that they’ve never experienced before. They’ve always [played] a close game [with us], so we wanted to set the tone from the beginning."

Killcommons said scoring so early against a tough opponent opened up new possibilities.

"It gave the defense some comfort and allowed us to expand on our offense, try stuff that we haven’t tried before, and be creative," Killcommons said.

Given the amount of second quarter pressure, Garden City took a somewhat unexpected 1-0 lead into halftime. Barely a minute into the second half, Sharp gave Wehrum and company a little more breathing room, netting a goal off a corner to lift the Trojans to a 2-0 lead.

After two outstanding saves by Locust Valley goalie Christen Jauregui midway through the third quarter that kept Garden City ahead 2-0, Kate Berkery scored off a corner with 3:39 left in the third quarter to extend the Garden City lead to 3-0. Marie Cacciabaudo scored the fourth goal with 9:48 left in the game.

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