Members of South Side’s girls’ lacrosse team knew last Friday’s showdown with Locust Valley was a big game, but they didn’t realize how big or what was at stake. At practice the previous day, they bounced some questions off coach Meaghan Healey.
“They asked if we’d miss the playoffs if we lost,” Healey said. “I didn’t give them an answer, because I wanted them to think it was a possibility.”
Truth be told, South Side’s playoff spot has never been in doubt. And after an 11-8 victory at Skelos Sports Complex, its heading to the postseason with a conference title in tow. Senior Michaela Lynch had five goals and two assists, and junior Hannah Serling added three goals and one assist as the Lady Cyclones won a well-played battle of Conference II unbeatens.
“This was Senior Night and possibly the last time some of us would play on this field,” said Lynch, who has 48 goals and 47 assists. “We knew it was an important game,” she added. “Whether it was for first place or the playoffs, we just wanted to come out and play strong.”
Healey said it was one of South Side’s finest performances of the season. Junior Briar Rose DeTomasso added two goals and senior Liz Hoeffner had one for the Lady Cyclones, who improved to 8-0 in conference play and 11-3 overall. “We’re a very good passing team,” Healey said. “I thought we did an excellent job in transition and on the draws. Michaela and Liz really controlled the faceoffs.”
Working behind a defense led by senior Michaela Beck, sophomore goalie Alyssa Knab made seven stops. Other solid defensive efforts came from juniors Allie Ford and Katie Ford, and sophomores Megan Albertson and Anna LePetri. “We knew they had some weapons,” Healey said. “We thought about face-guarding their top two players, but we took a wait-and-see approach. We did a good job with help defense.”
Locust Valley’s Taylor Bleistein entered the contest with a team-high 48 goals, and Bairre Reilly came in with 42. Earlier last week they combined for 12 goals in a win over Friends Academy. South Side limited them to five, with Reilly netting three to go with two assists.
After Reilly scored 2:28 into the second half to make it 5-5, the Lady Cyclones notched five straight goals to take command. DeTomasso got the run started with a goal just 19 seconds after Reilly tied it, and assisted on the first of Lynch’s four goals in the half to make it 7-5. Allie Ford then set up Lynch, Serling converted a nifty pass from junior Maggie Cifarelli, and Lynch capped the outburst with an unassisted goal.
“What’s nice about our offense is if an opponent keys on Lynch or Hoeffner, we have plenty of other girls who can step up,” Healey said. “We’re not one-dimensional.”