They finished the regular season only one game above .500. They were seeded No. 13. They had to win four straight just to reach Wednesday night's title game.
None of that fazed South Side's boys soccer team. Now the Cyclones are Nassau County co-champions in Class A and have advanced to a Long Island championship. After two 15-minute overtimes with the score tied at 1, South Side advanced on penalty kicks, 3-2, against No. 2 Roslyn at Hofstra.
Both teams scored two penalty kicks in a best-of-five round, which forced a golden-goal round. Pat Basile connected on South Side's sixth attempt. Josh Levine made a kick save on Roslyn's ensuing try to seal it.
"This,'' Levine said, "is the greatest feeling in the world.''
No team has won a county championship in Nassau boys soccer with a lower seed.
The Cyclones (9-6-3) will play Friday's East Hampton-Comsewogue winner for the Long Island championship at noon Sunday at Dowling Sports Complex in Shirley.
"It was unbelievably nerve-racking,'' Basile said. "I've never been part of something like that. When the ball went into the net, I never experienced a better feeling.''
In an evenly played game, things got really weird really quickly with 15 minutes left in regulation. That's when Roslyn's Alex Goodman was issued a red card, forcing the Bulldogs to play a man down.
Roslyn goalkeeper Ethan Rousso received a yellow card with 9:07 left and therefore was unable to be in net for Alessandro Pugliese's ensuing penalty kick. Pugliese put the ball just out of the reach of Roslyn backup Alex Sims to tie it at 1.
Pugliese had two chances in the first overtime, but Rousso made a pair of fine saves.
Kyle Galin chipped in the first goal off a pretty cross from Zachary Moskowitz in the 63rd minute. Despite being smothered by three defenders, Moskowitz found Galin, who beat Levine to the ball and finished near the net.
Roslyn (12-2-4) had a breakaway in the first minute of the second half, but Basile, a sophomore sweeper, made two saves on the goal line on a weird sequence. First, he made a kick save and launched the ball straight into the air. It bounced toward Galin, who attempted a second shot, but Basile headed it out.
"This team just has heart, man,'' coach Fred Paul said. "We were never going to give up.''
It was 11:30 p.m. when Levine made the final save. The clock did not strike midnight on this Cinderella story.