Three times in the first half, South Side goalie Dennis Licalzi found unwanted visitors on his doorstep. But instead of surrendering slam-dunk goals, Licalzi slammed the door shut.
Which opened the window of opportunity for the Cyclones, who scored the final three goals to defeat Long Beach, 9-6, last night in a Nassau Class B boys lacrosse quarterfinal at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.
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"Every save changed the tempo of the game," South Side's Mike Leake said. Leake and his twin brother, Tim, had a lot to do with the tempo as well. Mike scored three goals and Tim won 13 of 18 faceoffs. "We had a day!" Mike exclaimed.
South Side (8-8) advanced to the semifinals against Lynbrook 8 p.m. Wednesday at Hofstra. Long Beach finished 13-4.
Sam Brown scored three goals for Long Beach but was one of those players victimized by either Licalzi's body or quick stick. Brown was robbed midway through the second quarter at the right crease. Moments earlier, Licalzi stoned Chris Parler in front after Parler broke down the middle after snaring the faceoff.
"I played a great game, but so did our defense. It was a team effort and I don't make those saves without my teammates helping me out," said Licalzi, who had 10 saves. "I definitely think those one-on-one saves were big momentum stoppers."
Yet even with Licalzi's acrobatics in the cage, the Marines stormed back. They scored two goals in less than a minute early in the fourth quarter to tie it at 6. Brown backed in and finished high to make it 6-5 and then Austin Gibbons drilled a long one from the wing on a feed from behind the cage by Parler.
Moments later, South Side's Brandon Zenick intercepted a defensive clear and converted the error into an unassisted goal and a 7-6 lead with 5:53 left. About two minutes later, Mike Leake made a cut to the cage and scored off a nice feed from Joe Hill. Tim Leake won the next faceoff and the Cyclones killed some clock, denying Long Beach a chance to rally.
Long-stick midfielder Stephen Parker put the finishing touches on the victory with a rare goal, scooping a ground ball, circling behind the goal, then turning the corner and scoring low for the final margin.
"Dennis made some big, big saves early," South Side coach Steve DiPietro said. "Those one-on-one stops were momentum-changing plays."
Licalzi closed one door; the Leakes opened another.