Rory Heslin was not going to let an injury prevent her from playing in the biggest field hockey match of her life.
The junior midfielder/forward took a hard pass off her left ankle on Thursday night during the first quarter of the Nassau Class B final against Manhasset, and needed assistance walking off the field.
“If our athletic trainer Chris was not there, it would have been a completely different story,” Heslin said. “I had to leave in the second quarter because the wrap was a little too tight, but I was able to return and play the rest of the game. I don’t know what I would have done without him.”
Heslin was in the starting lineup Sunday for Garden City during Long Island Class B championship and with 12 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in regulation she took a pass from Marie Cacciabaudo and scored to propel Garden City past Harborfields, 2-1, at Centereach High School. The goal came off the Trojans’ first and only corner of the match.
Garden City advances to the state semifinals against Vestal on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Centereach.
“Rory is one of the toughest players I have ever seen,” Garden City coach Lauren Lavelle said. “She doesn’t let any setback have any negative impact on her. Instead, it drives her to be even stronger.”
The Trojans (15-0) expanded their lead to 2-0 when Olivia Cappello scored off a pass from Tara Hollis with 4:09 remaining in regulation. Harborfields (17-2-1) did not go down quietly, however, as Kate Lysaght buried a goal off a corner with two minutes remaining to bring the Tornadoes within a goal.
Garden City goalkeeper Mackenzie Wehrum kept Harborfields off the board following numerous corners at the end of each of the first three quarters, and made sure her team was in the right position to protect the 2-1 lead. The Tornadoes totaled 15 corners in the match and Wehrum made 10 saves.
“Harborfields came out firing, but we were ready,” Wehrum said. “We communicate a lot on the field and know we have to stay composed. We were able to clear a lot of balls out and come away with a victory.”