With all of its horses in the stable, South Side proved as talented as any boys’ soccer team in Nassau Class A, however the Cyclones came up just short in their bid for a county title.
Jericho successfully defended its championship last Monday evening with a 1-0 overtime win at Adelphi University. The second-seeded Jayhawks, who split regular-season meetings with No. 8 South Side, won it with 1:33 remaining in the first 15-minute sudden victory OT period on a goal by freshman Barry Sharifi.
Sharifi, who was denied by a remarkable diving save by Cyclones junior goalkeeper Thomas Germano with 4:30 remaining in regulation, took a crossing pass from Derek Medolla and slid a hard shot along the turf past a sprawling Germano for the game’s only goal.
“I ran towards the goal and Derek saw me,” Sharifi said. “He got the ball to me and I was able to score. It’s really special. It was a tough game. Both teams played well.”
Jericho (17-1-1), which suffered its only loss of the season Oct. 17 at South Side, 1-0, got seven saves from senior goalkeeper Ari Lewis and advanced to meet East Hampton in the Long Island Class A championship game.
The loss ended a spirited playoff run for the Cyclones (12-4-3), who eliminated No. 9 West Hempstead, No. 16 Roslyn, and No. 4 Hewlett on the way to the finals.
“We couldn’t have played harder,” South Side coach Fred Paul said. “Tonight wasn’t our best game of the year, but we certainly played well enough to win.
“We weren’t fully healthy until 10 games into the season,” he added. “Once everyone settled into their roles, we played some great soccer.”
South Side’s best scoring chance of overtime came midway through the period when senior Mark Romanowski headed a long indirect kick from junior Chuck Leone just over the crossbar. Lewis’ toughest save of regulation came in the first half off a header from senior Kyle Morrissey, who scored four goals in three playoff victories.
Germano was tested throughout the second half when the Jayhawks had the wind at their backs and had an answer for everything. With 2:15 left in regulation, he denied Medolla from point-blank range and senior Gerard Mahoney cleared the rebound before it found the cage.
“It stinks that someone had to lose this game,” Paul said. “But they’re a deserving winner.”