By GENE MORRIS Newsday (reprinted)
To stop the high-powered Smithtown West offense and gain possession of the ball before Ryan Keenan, Christian Zawadzki and Co. can put it in the back of your net, it most likely will take a great effort.
All of the West attacks and midfielders keep the pressure dialed up, making it tough for the opposition to cross midfield. And once a rival makes it that far and runs into the stout West defense led by Logan Greco, Kyle Mathie and J.J. Foley, things get even tougher.
Smithtown West (2-0) had all facets of the game working Saturday as it knocked off defending state champion Garden City, 6-1, behind a shutdown defensive effort in a non-league game.
"They're a great team, but we think we have the best defense in the country,'' Greco said. "We think we can compete with anyone and that our guys are better than their guys on any given day, and that's what we did.''
Zawadzki got the Bulls on the board early when he bounced a shot past Garden City goalie Danny Dolan after Keenan found him in front on a pass from behind the net.
Keenan made it 2-0 on a great individual effort after he sliced through the middle of Garden City's defense midway through the first quarter. That was all the scoring the Bulls would need.
"Going against our defense in practice every day helps me and Ryan and all the offensive guys,'' Zawadzki said. "They just make it really tough for the offense to get any goals.''
Garden City found that out firsthand. The Trojans (1-1), winners of back-to-back state Class B titles, had a tough time generating any offense. Garden City was limited to 18 shots, only nine of which were on goal. Dale Stasco scored the Trojans' only goal in the second quarter.
"With Kyle and Foley back there -- we've all been playing together since we were in second grade,'' Greco said. "Now that we're seniors we're just jelling together. I know that they have my back and I don't even have to think about it, and that's huge.''
Garden City's excellent faceoff specialist James Sullivan won 6 of 10 at the X but was neutralized several times by the combination of Greco and sophomore Dan Varello.
Smithtown West's defense has been impressive early in the season against two of the best teams in Nassau. Next the Bulls will begin to test their mettle in Suffolk County League I, one of the best leagues in the country.
"You measure yourself against the best programs out there,'' coach Bob Moltisanti said. "We've been pushing to knock down the door the last couple of years, and it was great to get on the field with a great Garden City team.''