The nation's 10th-ranked team made its mark on the Mepham Pirates Wednesday afternoon, as the Garden City Trojans scored 11 first-half goals en route to a 15-1 Conference II win at Warren King Field in Garden City.
Junior Liam Kennedy got the scoring started for the Trojans a little more than two minutes into the game. Garden City scored five more goals in the first quarter, including two more from Kennedy and one apiece from Justin Guterding, Jack Spencer and Brian Coleman to open up a 6-0 lead at the end of one.
Despite the best efforts of Mepham goalie Matt Castellvi, who made 12 saves on the day, including several at close range, the Trojans continued to roll in the second quarter.
Kennedy added two more goals to start the frame. Garden City followed up with three more goals from Devin Dwyer, captain Tom Gordon and Ryan Norton, before the Pirates got on the board on a quick shot from Vinny Moryc.
The pace slowed down in the second half, but the Trojans managed to put up two goals in each of the last two quarters to close out a 15-1.
Kennedy finished with five goals and one assist, while Dwyer added one goal and five assists and Mike Comiskey added a hat trick.
“Everyone was able to play, which is great," Garden City head coach Steve Finnell said after the win. "… I think even though we were able to sub some guys, the guys still played at a high level, which was great to see.”
Score: Garden City 15, Mepham 1
Records: Mepham 0-5 (3-8); Garden City 5-0 (10-2)
Heroes: Kennedy scored early and often. He was quick in front of the net and his shot was as accurate as it gets.
“We’re really starting to bring things together and starting to play more as a team," Kennedy said. "Most of our goals are assisted and that’s the way we’ve been looking to play.”
For Mepham, Castellvi made several big saves to keep the Pirates in the game and gave his team the opportunity to take an early lead.
“I thought our goalie, who is a backup goalie, actually a JV goalie that just came up, stepped in and I thought he was seeing the ball real well," Mepham head coach James Koester said. "… He’s worked real hard.”
Turning Point: Kennedy's goal 2:11 into the game opened up the flood gates for the Trojans, who added three more goals in the next three minutes after Kennedy's initial tally. The Pirates failed to recover from the early deficit.
“I thought the kids were very unselfish," Finnell said. "There were a lot of assisted goals.”
Quotable: “We’re looking much better than we did at the beginning of the year," Kennedy said. "We had two tough losses at the beginning of the season and we’re starting to put it together now. Our main goal is to win the conference and to get a No. 1 seed for the playoffs.”
Bottom Line: The Trojans have now won six straight after losing two of their first six games to the third and fifth-ranked teams in the nation.
“We have South Side on Tuesday, if we win that we’re in good shape to win the conference," Finnell said. "That’s been our goal all along, win the conference, get the No. 1 seed on our half of the bracket and that’s all you can do for the regular season. Then hopefully we’ll be ready to play come playoff time.”
On the other side of things, after starting the season 3-1, the Pirates have now dropped their seventh straight game.
“Our effort was pretty good, but obviously this is a step up in class that we don’t really quite match up with,” Koester said.
Injuries have been a major factor in Mepham's recent struggles and certain players have been had to playmuch more than they are used to.
“We played hard," Koester said. "We’ve been somewhat depleted with injuries, but we have a lot of guys that are playing that normally wouldn’t play as many minutes.”
Box ScoreTeams 1 2 3 4 F Mepham 0 1 0 0 1 Garden City 6 5 2 2 15
Mepham (Goals-Assists): Moryc 1-0, Agostino 0-1; Totals: 1-1. Garden City (Goals-Assists): Kennedy 5-1, Comiskey 3-0, Spencer 2-0, Dwyer 1-5, Coleman 1-1, Gordon 1-1, Guterding 1-1, Norton 1-1, Harder 0-1, Jahelka 0-1; Totals: 15-12.
Mepham (Shots-Saves): Castellvi 27-12. Garden City (Shots-Saves): Marino 3-3; Bock 4-3.