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Offense clicks for South Side


In search of its first Nassau County girls’ soccer title since 2014, South Side appears to be peaking at the perfect time with the start of the Class A playoffs just a few days away.

It took some time for the youth-filled Lady Cyclones to find their way, third-year coach Jen Abgarian said after a 2-0 victory over defending NYS champion Valley Stream South on Oct. 10 extended their win streak in Conference AB-1 to four straight games following a mediocre start.

“Early in the year we were having trouble scoring even though we were creating a lot of chances,” Abgarian said. “Our movement on and off the ball has been strong. We were a little unlucky finishing, but that’s changed and the girls are growing more and more confident.”

Sophomore Emma Hospodka provided both goals in the weather-shortened win at South, which defeated South Side 3-2 in the first meeting. The rematch was cut short with a little more than 17 minutes remaining due to heavy rain and winds. Senior goalkeeper Julia Cavanagh continued her own late-season surge with her second shutout during the streak.

“The first half was mostly just windy, but with a few minutes to go the rain started and it just pounded down on us in the second half before we called it,” Abgarian said. “The rain was torrential. Nobody wants to see anyone get hurt.”

Hospodka’s first goal, assisted by classmate Mia Delmond, came 12 minutes into the second half. The insurance tally came about six minutes later. “Emma’s really been coming into her own,” Abgarian said of Hospodka, who didn’t have much experience at center-midfield entering the season. “She has a high soccer IQ and wonderful skills,” she added. “She’s been a crucial part of our success.”

South Side (5-5-1) has scored two goals in each of the four games during the win streak, which began Oct. 4 with a 2-1 victory at Calhoun. The teams played to a scoreless tie in the first meeting. The Lady Cyclones produced 20 shots on goal in the rematch and found the back of the net once in each half. Hospodka set up junior Ella Delmond on the first goal, then sophomore Cristina LiCalzi assisted on Mia Delmond’s winner with 7:01 to go.

Three days later, Cavanagh made 13 saves and Ella Delmond had a goal and an assist to lead a 2-0 win at Mepham. Junior Maddie Roberti also scored for the Lady Cyclones, who dropped the first meeting, 3-2.

Junior Kate Sweeney scored the game-winner with 8:06 remaining Oct. 12 in South Side’s 2-1 triumph over Manhasset. Junior Dana Allen set up Mia Delmond’s tying goal early in the second half, and Cavanagh made 16 saves.

“Their energy has always been high,” Abgarian said. “They never get down on each other when things aren’t going well. They’ve taken it day by day and it’s exciting to think about how far we can go.”

The Lady Cyclones, likely to be seeded No. 2 or 3 in Class A, will host a first-round playoff game this Saturday.