The county final was a matchup of two very talented, undefeated teams that surely would provide an exciting match. With the stands at Farmingdale State filled with fans of both teams the energy level was what was to be expected for a final.
The match didn’t take long for the teams to settle in and mount attacks on offense. Manhasset used their speed on the ball to put pressure on the GC defense immediately and keeper Pupke had to be active in the first ten minutes of the match. But it was his save on a free kick in the 16th minute that kept the game scoreless. After setting up his wall, Pupke gave himself no margin for error and made a spectacular save diving to his left and pushing the ball off its mark. On the other side of the field Garden City had several chances, the best opportunity was on a set piece of their own. With Travis Thompson sending a corner kick high into the goal area that Justin Woodbine headed towards the corner, only to have the Manhasset keeper make a diving save.
The second half opened up with Manhasset on the attack and their up-tempo game paid off when they scored off of a corner kick in the twelfth minute of the half. The kick was a line drive into the near post that the Manhasset striker was able to split the GC defense and flick past Pupke for the first goal of the match. And a 1-0 lead for Manhasset.
Garden City continued to play their game and did not panic when they went down by a goal, and their patience paid off less than ten minutes later. About midway through the half the Trojans were awarded a corner kick that John Gibbons stepped up to take. He sent a perfect ball into the middle of the box that Connor Griffin ran on to and placed a solid header past the Manhasset keeper for the tying goal.
With the energy from their tying goal, GC picked up the pace and tried to push a second goal past the keeper but were thwarted with each run they made. The remainder of the game was a battle, with neither team giving up a good scoring opportunity.
With the game tied at one after 80 tough minutes, the game went into golden goal overtime. Both teams were facing the same outcome – a Nassau title or the first blemish on their undefeated season.
In the seventh minute it looked like Garden City was going to end the game when Andrew Fuoco found Myles Watson behind the outside defender. But as Watson controlled the ball the Manhasset keeper came flying out to close down the angle and force the shot wide.
Turning the ball quickly up field on a counterattack, Manhasset caught the GC defense and with a burst of speed their striker sent a ball over a sliding Ian Pupke and into the goal for the OT victory for Manhasset.
The loss should not take away anything from the outstanding season that the Trojans had and all their accomplishments. A special congratulations to the graduating seniors who put in a tremendous effort all year long, and especially to senior captains Aidan Molloy, Tommy Poz, Travis Thompson and Kyle Watson for setting the tone and leading the team throughout the year.
Photos by Ed Rotondo