October 15, 2013 | 338 views
South Side readies for playoffs
Taking a fully healthy team into the playoffs and earning no lower than the No. 4 seed top the wish list for South Side boys’ soccer coach Fred Paul, who has the Cyclones (6-2-1) in third place, one point out of first, in Nassau Conference A-I with two games remaining in the regular season.
“We control a lot in front of us,” Paul said after South Side’s 1-0 defeat at Jericho on Oct. 10 in what was a rematch of last year’s county Class A title game won by the Jayhawks by the same score. “We want to make sure we make the top eight to get a home playoff game, but it’s just as important to finish in the top four to get two playoff games on our field,” he added.
The loss to Jericho snapped the Cyclones’ four-game winning streak and marked their first setback since falling 1-0 to Kennedy on Sept. 25. The Jayhawks notched the game’s only goal with eight minutes remaining when Drew Shuman took a pass from Zachary Brown and beat South Side senior goalkeeper Thomas Germano (six saves.) “When you make a mistake against a good squad, it usually comes back to bite you,” Paul said. “Not to take anything away from Jericho, because they had to make a good play and it always takes a great shot to beat Thomas, but we got beat to a ball off a goal kick that put them in position.
“We want to make teams earn their goals,” he added. “We didn’t play our best game, but we played well.”
The Cyclones became the seventh shutout victim for Jericho and senior goalkeeper Reed Ginsberg, who made four saves. “We had our chances,” Paul said. “We’ve been moving the ball pretty well since the Kennedy loss. We’ve been getting the lion’s share of scoring opportunities.”
During its win streak, South Side outscored Plainedge, New Hyde Park, Sewanhaka and Division by a combined 13-3. “There are some things we need to improve, but we do have some firepower,” Paul said. “We’re not reliant on one or two guys to score. We can come from a lot of angles. I think if we get guys fully healthy, we’ll be a tough out in the playoffs.”
The streak began on the final day of September when five different Cyclones scored and three had assists in a 5-2 win at Plainedge. Seniors Chuck Leone and Jack McKenna, and junior Matthew Bohn all scored a goal and set one up. Senior Marco Schaden and junior Alessandro Pugliese also found the net. Bohn had the game’s lone goal at New Hyde Park two days later, Pugliese scored twice to lead the way past Sewanhaka, 4-1, and McKenna ripped home a pair in a 3-0 victory over Division.
Contenders Hewlett and Wantagh, in fourth and second place, respectively, remain on the schedule. “The toughest part of our schedule came at the end,” Paul said.