With just over 10 minutes left and the score knotted 11-11 in Wednesday night’s Nassau County girls lacrosse Class B title game between Garden City and Wantagh, Lady Trojan attacker Alexandra Bruno cradled the ball about five yards from the net and hesitated for a split second. The Princeton-bound senior then fired a bullet shot past Warrior goalie Sophia Gambitsky and Garden City never trailed again en route to a 14-12 for the program's eighth straight county championship at Adelphi University’s Motamed Field.
“I just knew I needed to score,” said Bruno of her key shot when the game was up for grabs. “I just took a step back and I saw an opening.”
“She is definitely the kind of player who wants the ball in her stick when a goal needs to be scored,” said Garden City head coach Diane Chapman.
Bruno helped offset a gutsy performance by Wantagh senior midfielder Kaleigh Craig (six goals) with five tallies to lead the Lady Trojans to a county title a season after graduating four All-Americans. The Trojans offensive effort was also keyed by six goals from senior Penn-bound midfielder Catherine Dickinson.
Garden City (14-5) has now beaten Wantagh in six of the last seven Class B title games. The Warriors, who finished the 2012 season 13-6, last tasted victory against the Trojans in 2002.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game and we had to come out with everything we had,” Bruno said.
“They never, ever give up.,” said Chapman of Wantagh.
That fight Wantagh has shown all season came through in the second half when Garden City led 10-7 with just over 17 minutes left the Warriors scored three straight goals with the tying tally coming from Allie McClain with 13:19 remaining. The Warriors however were never able to grab a second half lead during their quest for the program’s elusive first Nassau County title.
Wednesday’s county title loss brings to a close the career of six Lady Warriors including the Northwestern-bound Craig, who ended her heralded high school career with 57 goals after being hobbled by an ACL tear last year.
"Kaleigh Craig played the game of her life,” said Chapman of the Warrior midfielder who was also dominant on draw controls to help Wantagh gain many extra possessions.
Garden City will next vie for a Long Island title against the winner of Thursday’s Suffolk County Class B championship game between Eastport-South Manor and Hauppauge this Saturday at Dowling College. The last time Garden City did not capture a Long Island title the same season it won a county championship was in 1986.