South Side would not be denied for its quest for the Nassau County Class A title on Wednesday night. The No. 2 Lady Cyclones pulled through for a 3-2 win in triple overtime against No. 1 Divison, courtesy of a game-winning goal from junior Meghan Hines 1:04 into the third and final extra period.
In 2010, South Side had a run of 13 consecutive county titles snapped by Garden City, but the girls will return to the Long Island championship stage once again this weekend against Islip, the Suffolk County champion.
“They wanted it more. We talked about it all week and that is what they needed to do,” said South Side head coach Shannon McEntee. “They needed to play with 110 percent heart and go out and do it, and they proved themselves. They were not going through what we went through last year.”
After a scoreless first half that featured close calls by both sides, Division pressured early in the second half, looking for the opening goal. Senior Maggie Carew, who scored twice in a semifinal win over Plainedge, found the back of the net in the 47th minute off of a free kick from senior Krista Fitzpatrick after fending off a slew of defenders deep in the South Side zone.
With the minutes winding down on the Lady Cyclones’ season, it was their side that needed to make it happen. Sophomore Christina Klaum took a shot from the top of the box and scored past junior goalkeeper Gina Fader to pull even at 1-1 with just seven minutes remaining. Klaum, whose equalizer was her eighth goal in the last four games, has scored in every playoff game thus far.
After a first overtime with no score, the two battle-tested teams headed into the second overtime period with everything still on the line. In the 96th minute, Division sophomore Ariana Weingrad put in the go-ahead goal past junior goalkeeper Kelsey Berki. However, in a last ditch effort, South Side senior Julie Beyer, who scored just one goal all season, put in a hard-driven shot from 30 yards out to tie at 2-2 in the 100th minute.
After coming back on the brink of elimination not once, but twice, momentum clearly resided with the Lady Cyclones. Just over a minute into the third overtime (the first sudden death period), Hines collected a pass next to the right post and in a blink of an eye, the Nassau County title belonged to South Side once again.
“We knew that we weren’t letting Division beat us,” said Hines. “We went out there and gave it our all. I think our defense kept us in the game, and you can’t have a good team without defense.”
Division, which closes out its season at 14-1-3, had previously defeated South Side (11-2-4) by a 2-0 score on Oct. 3 and tied 1-1 in the second meeting on Oct. 24.
“I thought the effort was great and thought we did a good job. I thought we should’ve won,” said Division head coach Steve Kissane. “We were two evenly matched teams all year long.”
South Side will play Islip for the Long Island Class A crown on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Denton Avenue Field in New Hyde Park.