By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 6/11/13
Senior Justin Guterding said it only motivated him more when he heard the skeptics tell him that Garden City would not repeat as New York Class B champions in 2013 after a number of top players graduated from an undefeated team.
“We loved when people picked us to lose because – first off – it gave us motivation to prove them wrong,” he said. “Secondly, when people picked against us, it would help us to stay loose because the pressure was on the other team to win. We could relax and play well.”
And that they Trojans did. On Saturday at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, Garden City toppled Jamesville-DeWitt, 13-8, to claim its second straight state crown. The win capped a brilliant layoff run for the Trojans (19-3), who defeated the No. 2-ranked team in the TopLaxRecruits.com Rankings, Niskayuna, 10-9, in the semis before downing No. 11 JD.
Garden City stood only 7-3 after a 9-7 loss to Manhasset at the Woodstick Classic on April 27. The Trojans won their last 12 games – including a 10-4 rout of Manhasset in the Nassau County finals.
“I think after the early losses, everyone took a step back and watched film to see what we were doing wrong and what needed to be fixed,” said Guterding, who will prep one year at Salisbury School (CT) before heading to NCAA champion Duke. “The offensive problems were on me, and I will be the first person to tell you that.
“I was trying to do too much, but then when I realized that, I started becoming more dangerous because my passing game started to come into play a lot more and the other teams defense didn’t know what to do when we had other dangerous players on the offensive end (Cody George, Jack Worstell, Lucas Clay, Jack Metzler, etc.).”
In Saturday’s title-game win, Garden City scored the first five goals of the second half and tallied eight in all in the third quarter to break open a 3-3 game. George led the offense with five goals and an assist and Guterding had two goals and three assists while Worstell had two goals and two assists. The key to the win, though, was the face-off work of James Sullivan, who won 18 of 25 draws.
“Obviously, one main part of our big run during the third quarter was our special weapon, James Sullivan,” said Guterding. “He did an absolutely amazing job yesterday and we wouldn’t be where we were on Saturday if it wasn’t for him. He just completely took over the game and when we got what we wanted on offense and put the ball in the back of the net, we would get the ball right back on the next faceoff.
“Another huge part was the defense. When JD did get the ball, our defense was able to hold the high powered offense in check. I was really happy for James, who earned defensive MVP because he has worked so hard. I couldn’t think of a better kid to earn that award.”
Guterding said this title actually felt sweeter than last year’s. It also must be noted that in 2011 Jamesville-DeWitt went 22-0, closing the season with an 8-7 triumph over Garden City in the title game.
“This state title in fact feels a little better than last year mainly because of the fact that last year we were supposed to win the championship,” he said. “This year, people started doubting us the second that perfect season ended. We weren’t supposed to win counties, Long Islands, or even get to states.
“In the meantime, we used the people picking against us as motivation. I couldn’t be more proud of my team the way we handled ourselves after some losses that we felt we should have won.
“We made history for ourselves. First back to back state champions, and first state championship team in GC to win it all with three losses on the season.
“That’s pretty amazing and walking out of Garden City with four County titles, four Long Island Championship Titles, and four straight state championship appearances, winning the last two. I couldn’t think of a better way to end my career at Garden City.
“I am going to miss playing with my best friends and I want to give a special thanks to my coaches, family, and friends because I wouldn’t be the player and person I am without them all.”