After rallying with a pair of late second-half goals to capture the Nassau Class A girls’ soccer championship, winning the Long Island title on penalty kicks, and squeezing out a 1-0 victory in a state semifinal, South Side’s exclamation point on a near-perfect season came without drama or doubt.
The Lady Cyclones repeated as state Class A champions last Sunday afternoon, beating Jamesville-Dewitt, 2-0, at SUNY-Cortland behind goals by senior Michaela Lynch and junior Christina Klaum, and junior goalkeeper Sarah McCarthy’s sixth postseason shutout.
“It’s so amazing,” said Lynch, a senior who opened the scoring 14:30 into the game after taking a crossing pass from Klaum and converting her own rebound. “We worked so hard all season, and to finally achieve the goal we set for ourselves is great,” she added.
South Side coach Shannon McEntee stressed the importance of a strong start against Jamesville-Dewitt and said she was thrilled to see the ball find its way into the opposing net in the first half for the first time since the Nassau semifinals — a span of four games. “The girls never panic, so I think they would’ve been fine if it came down to another nail-biter,” she said. “But it was nice to get an early goal and have that cushion. I think it helped settle us down.”
Of McCarthy’s six saves, her biggest came with 27:30 remaining in the second half when she raced out of the crease and dove to smother a ball just as Jamesville-Dewitt’s Jessica Holmes got a foot on it. “Sarah was incredible throughout the entire playoffs, allowing just one goal” McEntee said. “She made some really big saves.”
McCarthy and a defense led by juniors Jessica Hawley, Allie Ford, Kelsey Ford, and sophomore Rebecca Buchman, got some breathing room to work with when Klaum, a junior, took a crossing pass from Lynch and left-footed a low shot past Jamesville-Dewitt goalkeeper Allison Bulter (10 saves) with 19:18 to go.
“A two-goal lead is the most dangerous in soccer,” McEntee said. “But it was a huge relief to be up 2-0 the way our goalie and defense were playing.”