Liana McDonnell put in her time as a freshman last year, competing hard in practice on a Garden City girls lacrosse team with 17 seniors that won the state Class B championship.
Now, McDonnell is a vital piece. The sophomore midfielder was all over the field in Wednesday’s Nassau Class B championship, tallying four goals and two assists in the top-seeded Trojans’ 17-7 win over No. 2 Long Beach at Adelphi’s Motamed Field.
Garden City plays Eastport-South Manor at noon Sunday at Adelphi with hopes of winning consecutive Long Island championships.
“The goal was not to be on the field last year, but to help out in practice,” said McDonnell, who also helped the Trojans win 18 of 27 draws. “It’s amazing now to play such a big role in this. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you can be such an impact on your team.”
McDonnell recorded both of her assists during Garden City’s 6-0 run early in the first half that pushed the lead to 7-1. She also scored consecutive goals in the second half, the second of which gave the Trojans a 13-6 lead with 10:22 left to play.
The Trojans found success against stellar Long Beach goalie Sarah Reznick by sticking to one simple strategy. “The only thing we said today was that we were going to fake it high and shoot it low,” McDonnell said. “We weren’t going to do anything high, and we did really well with that in the first half.”
Reznick still made 13 saves and anchored a defense that found difficulty containing the likes of McDonnell, Jenn Medjid (four goals, one assist), Sarah Kaval (two goals), Kelly George (two) and Jackie Brattan (two).
“We knew they were a better team than last year,” Medjid said of Long Beach (12-6). “The first time we played them (a 13-5 win on April 19), they were really strong. We prepared really well all week for their offense and their defense, and we just stuck to the game plan.”
As has become the norm for Garden City (17-1), the Trojans put forth a complete effort. Anchored by Kaitlyn Larsson’s 11 saves, Devon Heaney and the defense succeeded in slowing Siobhan Rafferty (two goals) and Katie Whelan (one goal, two assists).
McDonnell, Deanna Weisenburger, Celia Concannon and Caitlin Cook were integral in swinging the draw Garden City’s way. The offense took care of the rest, punctuating that despite losing so much talent, Garden City is as good as ever.
“We’re not just the team from last year,” Heaney said. “We’re our own team, and we want to be even better than last year.”