Cole DiPietro #16 of South Side reacts after scoring the...

Cole DiPietro #16 of South Side reacts after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime to lift the Cyclones to a dramatic 12-11 win over Victor in the NYSPHSAA boys lacrosse Class B state final at Shuart Stadium on Saturday, June 8, 2024. Credit: James Escher

Cole DiPietro set off the celebration at Shuart Stadium because the son of head coach Steve DiPietro scored in sudden death to give South Side the Class B state championship, a lacrosse moment frozen in time that the DiPietros will never, ever forget.

But this was more than just a special father-and-son story. This was also a story about a special team doing special things — again.

This was a team that came from five goals behind in the third quarter against 42-time Section I champ Yorktown Wednesday in the state semis in Albany. This was team that again fell in a five-goal hole in the third Saturday against a Victor team from Section V that was making its seventh appearance in a state final over these last 10 years.

Yet South Side climbed all the way out again, only to fall back into a late one-goal hole, only to have Mike Aiello tie it with a mere eight-tenths of a second left in regulation and then win it, 12-11, 19 seconds into OT.

These Cyclones will all never, ever forget the season they won their last 15 games to finish 21-1 and claim the program’s first Nassau, Long Island and state titles since 2004 and second three-piece set like that overall.

“It’s indescribable,” said Steve DiPietro, who was the offensive coordinator for that 2004 team. “Again, down 8-3 and again just battling and battling and battling. These kids are the best. They just never quit. All grit. They just go and go and go, and they keep going.

“And 20 years later, my son and all his best friends since they were 4 or 5 years old [win this] — my heart is just bursting.”

His Hobart-bound son gave South Side its first lead at 10-9 with 4:29 remaining in the fourth, and the senior midfielder proceeded to win it in his final high school game.

“We’ve been through so much together,” Steve DiPietro said. “It hasn’t been the easiest for him having his dad as a coach and a teacher. So I know as a teenager isn’t always easy. But he’s always done the right thing, and I’ve tried so hard to keep everything in perspective.

“To see him have that moment, I couldn’t have wished for anything more.”

Cole DiPietro said the moment was big “not only for us, but just this entire group. I think we’ve been working for this for a while. We’ve all been little, playing on the same team, and this has been our goal.”

They reached their goal when Liam Livingston fed him for the deciding goal that came from about 5 yards out on the right side.

“It was just a fever dream,” Cole DiPietro said. “I can’t really explain it. I’m just so happy to win with all my friends.”

Then there was the other side.

“We’ve got guys that are shattered,” said Victor coach Dan Stone, whose team also lost by one in the 2023 final, falling to Garden City.

“They’re going to be hurting for a long time. But they’re an amazing group of young men that are going to go on to do great things. This is just going to be a memory [when] they get together years from now at alumni events. It’s part of the journey.”

There would’ve been no happy memory from Saturday for the Cyclones without Aiello’s special tying moment.

The senior attackman ran the ball behind the cage and out to the right doorstep where he capped his three-goal, two-assist day.

“It was sick,” Aiello said of the feeling. “I was so excited.”

But there would’ve been no special moment for Aiello without the comeback run.

Brody Secker scored his third for the Blue Devils (18-4), giving them an 8-3 lead with 4:20 left in the third.

Cullen Lynch delivered three goals to lead the ensuing go-ahead 7-1 run.

Victor responded. Matty Langan soon tied it. And with 1:30 to go in regulation, Jackson Mead handed the Blue Devils an 11-10 edge that lasted until Aiello made it disappear.

“I knew we could do it,” Aiello said. “We were down early, but it was just like last game that we played. No quit in us.”


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