More than 80 former South Side High School lacrosse players gathered at their home field on Nov. 23 for the program’s first alumni game.
Steve DiPietro, head coach of the boys’ varsity team since 2008, organized the contest, as ex-Cyclones competed for four quarters and a sudden-death overtime. Zach Scaduto, who graduated from South Side in 2012 and went on to play lacrosse at SUNY Binghamton, scored the game-winner for the “even-years” alumni.
“It certainly exceeded my expectations with the turnout,” DiPietro said. “The program’s been around a while now, I’m very proud of it and I’m super excited to see all these guys back again.”
Graduates dating back to the class of 1994 took the turf field as a way to celebrate nearly 30 years since South Side launched its boys’ lacrosse program. Members of the 2004 squad remembered their state championship run, which was the only one in program history. The team defeated Bethpage in the county finals that year before beating Shoreham-Wading River in the Long Island Championship, Yorktown in the state semi-finals and Corning East to clinch the state title.
DiPietro, an assistant coach for the 2004 team, recalled coaching many of those players since they were in middle school. “Just such an incredible group of kids,” he said. “To see them be able to finish up the way I thought they were capable of finishing up was so gratifying. …They put so much work in.”
Kent Lucas, a captain attacker from the 2004 team, said his fondest memories of that year included simply playing, laughing and having fun with his teammates, and that he was happy to have the chance to reunite with them. “We’re all a little bit fatter,” he said after the alumni game, smiling, “but it was great to have everyone back and hopefully we can do this every year.”
Michael Robustello, a midfielder who also served as a captain for the ’04 champs, said the teammates in his grade had started playing lacrosse together as third-graders in Rockville Centre’s Police Activity League. He recalled years later winning the county championship with that same group, “and then after that, everything just rolled,” he said.
He and his former teammates still talk about the title run to this day, Robustello added. “As we’ve moved on in life, this is something that really is a common bond between us,” he said. “It’s something that no one will ever be able to take away from us.”