The Garden City field hockey team needed one last defensive stand, and Mackenzie Wehrum had no doubts her back line was up for the challenge.
"Every practice we work on our corners and specifically clearing the ball out of our end," said Wehrum, the Trojans goalkeeper. "In tight games we know that it is crucial to get the ball out of harm’s way and we were able to do just that."
With no time remaining on the clock, Garden City surrendered a penalty corner to Manhasset for an untimed play. Manhasset inserted the ball into the middle of the field but was unable to get a shot away, as the visiting Trojans secured a 2-1 victory in Nassau Conference I Wednesday evening. Wehrum made nine saves, several of them prevented Manhasset from equalizing.
Manhasset (7-2) sneaked one past Wehrum with just over three minutes remaining in regulation when Dominique Randall scored on a one-timer from Julia Cafasso to cut the Trojans lead to 2-1.
Despite the late goal, Garden City head coach Lauren Lavelle still had a ton of confidence in her team.
"We have strong defensive players that know how to be patient, and run with the other girls without picking up fouls," Lavelle said. "Manhasset is probably the best opponent we have seen so far, so we needed to be smart and minimize our mistakes."
Rory Helsin gave Garden City (9-0) some breathing room early in the fourth quarter when she scored off a pass from Blakely Trapani with 12:18 left for a 2-0 lead. Emma Nallan cleared the ball out of the defensive end and pushed it up the field to Trapani, who found an open Heslin on her right for the goal.
"They [Manhasset] had a lot of chances to tie it up, so getting that two-goal lead at that point of the game allowed us to compose ourselves and calm the nerves a bit," Heslin said. "We really fed off our teammates and coaches on the sidelines who were cheering us on."
"Rory is usually our midfielder, but we bumped her up at the end," Lavelle said. "She’s phenomenal in one-on-one situations and has a lot of patience and skill."
Tara Hollis put the Trojans on the board in the second quarter when she deflected in a Trapani shot on goal. Garden City successfully defended two more untimed penalty corners at the end of the half to take a 1-0 lead into halftime.
"We have been practicing our deflections a lot and it has been a work in progress. I am still getting used to them," Hollis said. "It is really fulfilling to know what I am doing in practice is working in game situations."