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Even four years ago when Devin Dwyer was the smallest player on the field, Garden City High’s lacrosse coach Steve Finnell knew that he had something special. As the years have passed, Dwyer has grown physically (almost a foot taller and 60 pounds heavier) and as a complete lacrosse player. Last Saturday at Haverford, Dwyer put all his talents on display, scoring three goals and assisting on six others as Garden City defeated Conestoga, PA, the number one ranked team in America, 12-11.

“Devin is a big time player,” said Finnell. “Today, he took his game to a different level and dominated a game filled with top players. It was something to watch.”

Before the game, Hall of Famer Tim Worstell, former Maryland captain and a high school All-American attackman at Garden City who set a county record of 88 goals in 1979, was talking about Dwyer’s evolution. “Devin’s game lacked only one thing,” he said. “He needed the strength and speed to come around the cage and beat the best defenders. Now, he has that and we need him to do that against Conestoga.” Worstell could not have been more prescient. After the Pioneers scored first, Dwyer, using an outstanding first step, twice beat his man, came around the net and fired in unassisted goals to put the Trojans ahead, 2-1. He then assisted on four of the next five GC goals as the teams battled to a 7-7 halftime tie. He wasn’t through. Down the stretch Devin was involved in the final three goals that clinched the win as he passed to Justin Guterding and Rob Savage for scores, then converted Guterding’s pinpoint pass to put the Trojans ahead, 12-9.

Guterding, a junior who is headed to Duke, is another player who has taken his game to a higher level. He wound up with three goals and two assists. The third member of the starting attack, Liam Kennedy, had two goals and an assist. Conestoga couldn’t stop the Trojan offense which was particularly sharp in man-up situations, converting four opportunities.

But the Pioneers (6-1) didn’t go quietly. Each time the Trojans (7-0) seemed about to pull away, they came back with exceptionally hard shots. The Pennsylvania school, which plays in the 4A league and has about 500 students in each class, scored twice in the closing three minutes to draw within a goal. They had one chance to tie when they got the ball with about 45 seconds left, , but the close in defense of Eugene Berkery, Ed Blatz and Scott D’Antonio ,stripped the ball and the Trojans ran out the clock. “The defense was faced with one of the best attacks in the country and they contained them,” said Finnell.

In a game which featured powerful offenses, possession was a key. Freshman James Sullivan and senior Rob Savage held their own on faceoffs with the help of outstanding play by the wings, notably Patric Berkery, who consistently overpowered opponents to come up with loose balls. He also contributed a goal.

“It took a team effort to beat a team as good as Conestoga,” Finnell said. “We really got it today and it was a great win. But April 14 isn’t late May or June and we have lots of work left to do.” That work continues this week. After a conference game at Great Neck South, the Trojans will host top-ten ranked Duxbury, MA this Saturday (April 21) at 1 p.m. at Warren King Field.

LAX NOTES: The Haverford School hosted seven games in its lacrosse day dedicated to increasing awareness of male cancer. Over $100,000 was raised. Among the highly-ranked teams playing besides Garden City and Conestoga were Episcopal, Wilton, CT, LaSalle, St. Augustine, Haverford and Lawrenceville....A Trojan goal in the second quarter was negated by an “inadvertent whistle” by an official. Fortunately, it didn’t affect the outcome....Brian Badgett and Lucas Clay scored goals...There is a lot of history in the private school league that Haverford (1884) plays in. Episcopal dates to the 1700’s and Penn Charter was founded in 1680!

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