April 22 marked the first day of lacrosse practice across Nassau County, but it wasn’t until a full week later South Side would have its entire roster focused on the sport.
That’s because on April 28 many of the Cyclones were busy capturing the school’s first girls’ soccer county title since 2014. “The soccer girls got all of their practices in for us so they’d be eligible for the first game,” coach Rob Devlin said. “We definitely have high expectations. We’ve been to the semifinals in back-to-back seasons and the girls have made it a goal to get to the finals and see what happens.”
With Manhasset’s enrollment drop moving it into Class C, the top contenders for the county Class B title are perennial power Garden City, South Side and Long Beach. The Cyclones have made some early statements, defeating Long Beach, 11-6, Cold Spring Harbor, 15-7, hanging 20 goals on Farmingdale, edging Massapequa, 10-8, and knocking off Wantagh, 16-13.
“The girls are just focused on themselves,” Devlin said. “We’re just getting started. There’s no telling how good we can become if we keep improving every day.”
Devlin said he’s especially pleased with the defense allowing an average of only 8 goals through the first five games. The unit is anchored by senior Skylar DeLuca, a captain who earned Honorable Mention All-County in 2019 as a sophomore. “Skylar has all the experience and leadership qualities,” Devlin said. “She communicates well and settles everyone down after a goal.” Junior Ciara Giannone is a quick and aggressive defender, while freshman Morgan Harloff has fit right in and is playing at a high level.
In goal, junior Mackenzie Creagh saw plenty of playing time in 2019 and has taken her clearing skills to another level to go with the rest of her talents, Devlin said. Creagh was stellar May 6 in the win over Massapequa with 18 saves. “Mackenzie is getting the ball to midfield with some clears,” he said. “She’s so smooth and her hands are so quick. She’s off to a great start.”
When the ball is in the stick of South Side’s midfielders and attack, positive things tend to happen. Seniors Ella Delmond and Sydney Rathjen were All-County and Honorable Mention All-County, respectively, last season, and juniors Maggie Long, Emily Iacobellis and Mia Delmond are also making major contributions at both ends of the field.
Ella Delmond totaled 50 points, including 33 goals, in 2019 and is headed to Quinnipiac. Rathjen, bound for Brown, brings height, speed and a hard, accurate shot. She had 18 goals and 9 assists through the first five games. Long, who returned to the district after attending Holy Trinity, has fit right in and has 16 assists. Iacobellis and Mia Delmond, who are aggressive to the cage, both have 13 goals.
The Cyclones, who’ll play 13 conference games, won’t see Garden City until the regular-season finale on May 28.