Three goals in 41 seconds and five more in a span of 3:22 after the game was tied made for an unforgettable Nassau Conference B-I boys’ lacrosse opener for South Side, which rallied for a 10-5 victory over visiting Long Beach on April 18.
Junior Brian Albertsen scored the eventual game-winner with 4:37 remaining as the Cyclones exploded for nine unanswered goals in the fourth quarter to improve to 6-1. Senior Jack Kimmel had a hat trick, including two tallies to ignite the comeback along with sophomore Aidan Kelly, who won 17 of 19 faceoffs. Long Beach (5-4) got a pair of goals from junior John Spinelli and sophomore Trey Sofield.
“It was a great way to open the conference schedule against a quality opponent,” South Side coach Steve DiPietro said. “Long Beach played consistent and had us on the ropes. Our kids didn’t panic and it was just a matter of finding a way to break through. Their goalie was outstanding early.”
The Marines got 10 saves from junior goaltender Luke Mignoli, while senior JT McCarthy had six stops for the Cyclones.
“We had a few opportunities to regain momentum, but have to give credit where credit is due and bounce back and get the next one,” Long Beach first-year coach Jason Pearl said. “They kept coming at us and we couldn’t weather the storm.”
Trailing 5-1 and unable to solve Mignoli since the opening quarter, the Cyclones began their comeback less than a minute into the fourth on Kimmel’s first goal. The next two goals came 10 seconds apart — off the sticks of senior Cameron Dunn and Kimmel — and it was quickly 5-4 with 9:08 remaining. Sophomore William Pickett brought the hosts even with 8:37 to go.
“We’ve been sharing the ball really well all season and that makes us difficult to defend,” DiPietro said. “We started moving better off the ball in the fourth quarter and Aidan was just a beast on the draws.”
Pearl said he “tried everything” to break Kelly’s dominance on faceoffs but was unsuccessful. According to DiPietro, Kelly has now won 73 of 95 on the year. “We had no answer for him,” Pearl said.
The possessions and goals kept coming for the Cyclones, who have another big test coming up in Hewlett as they’ll try to avenge one-goal losses in each of the past two seasons. Just 16 seconds after Albertsen’s go-ahead goal, sophomore Nick LiCalzi increased the lead to 7-5. Albertsen, senior Jackson Modico and Kimmel added insurance over the next three minutes.
“It’s a big confidence builder because the kids know they’re capable of coming back from a deficit,” DiPietro said.
It was the fifth time in seven games South Side, which earned non-conference wins over East Meadow, Floral Park, Lynbrook, Valley Central (Westchester County), and Port Washington, scored in double digits. Kimmel (11 assists) and Modico share the team lead with 12 goals; Pickett has 11, followed by Dunn with nine and Albertsen with eight.