Briana Ciccone of Garden City attempts the header into the...

Briana Ciccone of Garden City attempts the header into the net during a Nassau girls soccer game against Oceanside on Oct. 16 at Adelphi. Credit: Dawn McCormick


Garden City set the tone early on, consistently attacking on the wings. But it was a layoff in the middle of the field from Briana Ciccone that set up Kathryn Monaco to take a touch to her right before ripping the ball to the far-left corner from 20 yards out for the game’s first goal as No. 1 Garden City defeated No. 4 Manhasset, 2-0, in the Nassau Class AA semifinals on Sunday.

“I knew going into the game I could take some shots from further away,” Monaco said. “The girl gave me space, so I decided to take it and it went in.”

Many of Garden City's shots came from her right boot, forcing Manhasset goalkeeper Carys Hyland to make five first-half saves. The morning’s rain gave the ball an extra skip on the turf, which made  Garden City decide to take multiple shots from beyond the 18-yard box.

Assistant coach Scott McAuley said taking long shots with the weather conditions was part of the game plan.

“The weather definitely contributed to that decision,” McAuley said. “We saw the ball was skidding in warmups, so we knew that was going to be a factor.”

Manhasset packed the middle of the field and played narrow, forcing Garden City to attack the wings. The Trojans’ two goals came when they were able to attack through the middle. Monaco drew multiple defenders and laid the ball off to senior captain Emily Romeo, whose shot found its way to the back of the net.

Garden City had defeated Manhasset two times earlier this year, winning 4-1 and 10-2. Sunday’s close match was something McAuley said the coaches anticipated and emphasized to the team.

“We had a lot of success during the year against Manhasset, so our main concern was the girls feeling a little overconfident because we won by quite [a lot] both times,” McAuley said. “We knew this was going to be a different match.”

Numerous injuries also forced players like Monaco and Romeo to play different roles. The team was without leading scorer Chloe Benik, who was injured against Long Beach in the quarterfinals. Nora Donahue was injured late in Sunday’s game.

“We now have another injury, which is going to have to be filled in,” McAuley said. “We do have some kids on the bench who can fill in effectively. But we know we are going to have our hands full [in the finals].”

Garden City (10-4-4) will face No. 2 South Side at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Romeo, who is returning to the finals with Garden City for the second consecutive year, said the team is eager to prove itself after last year’s loss to MacArthur in 2022.

“We got there last year, and we were really mad that we lost,” Romeo said. “We were a really good team, and we just weren’t the better team that day. So, this year we are looking for revenge and are going to go out hard and really try to win.”


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