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Friday, May 27, 2016
South Side stops Sewanhaka
Peter Frutkoff/Herald
Johnny Debenedittis assisted on both South Side goals in last Friday's Class A playoff shutout victory over Sewanhaka.

Upstart Sewanhaka, the No. 13 seed, rolled into last Friday night’s Nassau Class A boys’ soccer first-round playoff matchup with No. 4 South Side riding a hot streak that dated back to when the teams met during the regular season and included an overtime victory over West Hempstead in a play-in game.

But the Indians, unbeaten in their last five since dropping a 4-1 decision to the Cyclones on Oct. 4, couldn’t muster any offense while the hosts got goals from Matt DiLuccio and Jack McKenna for a 2-0 victory at Skelos Sports Complex. Johnny Debenedittis assisted on both scores. Goalkeeper Thomas Germano made four saves for South Side (9-3-3), which advanced to face fifth-seeded Bethpage in the quarterfinals.

“We knew they were coming in here playing pretty well, and I scouted them the other day when they beat West Hempstead,” Cyclones coach Fred Paul said. “We had success the first time we met, and I thought we did some pretty good things tonight.

“What matters most is we’re moving on,” he added. “Now I’ll go get the scouting report on Bethpage and figure out a strategy.”

Sewanhaka (6-5-5) coach Peter Burgess said his team began its turnaround in the second half of the regular-season meeting against the Cyclones, who got two goals from Alessandro Pugliese that day. The Indians had two wins and two ties in their last four conference games, including a 3-0 win over defending county champion Jericho. “We started to jell and gained a lot of confidence by beating Jericho,” Burgess said. “We needed every point we got to make the playoffs. A loss in our last [conference] game and we were out.”

South Side came out buzzing and created two golden scoring opportunities in the first 10 minutes. Chuck Leone, who seemed a step ahead of everyone all night, drilled a direct kick off the crossbar in the 6th minute and then had a pass redirected by Andrew Whelan that appeared destined for the back of the net until Indians keeper Mustafa Bayrum made a lunging save on the fly.


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