South Side girls soccer has become synonymous with the state tournament, having won nine of the last 12 Long Island Class A championships.
But not last year. And don’t think the players have forgotten about last season’s loss in the Nassau A championship.
South Side defeated Garden City, 3-0, Friday at Darcy Field behind two goals by Alex McNicholas after losing to the Trojans in last season’s championship.
“It’s the biggest motivator because all three years I’ve played on the team so far, we’ve always met Garden City in counties and it’s either them or us,” midfielder Ally Diez said. “And last year when we were knocked out, we knew coming into this game we wanted to destroy them. We didn’t want to just have a 1-0 game or a tie. We want to keep beating them because odds are we will meet them in counties.”
After a strong defensive opening 30 minutes by both teams, South Side broke through on McNicholas’ first goal from the 18-yard box with 9:47 remaining in the first half on a play created by Juliana Klaum. Klaum had a strong day at midfield, creating chances offensively while being a defensive enforcer by creating turnovers to limit scoring chances for Garden City (3-1-1).
McNicholas scored again with 7:16 remaining in the first half to take a 2-0 lead after Diez sent a perfect through pass more than 30 yards to the right side of the net. McNicholas fielded the pass, stopped quick to dodge a defender and scored far post. Playing with experienced midfielders like Klaum and Diez makes McNicholas’ job as a scorer easier.
“They’re both amazing,” McNicholas said, “and I think the forwards running makes it real easy and them finding feet and the ability to beat other midfielders just gives us that advantage.”
Bridget Considine added the Cyclones’ final goal off a rebound with 13:08 remaining in the second half. It was her first goal in three varsity seasons.
“We just knew that the third goal was necessary to put the game away,” Considine said.
South Side (2-0-2) goalkeeper Kayla Klarides had nine saves and was helped by the strong back line play of Annie Ford, Allison Mahoney, Gabrielle Lucas and Katherine Parker.
The Cyclones have challenged themselves with a difficult non-conference schedule entering the season — with its two losses to state champions (Massapequa and St. Anthony’s).
“Losing to them gave us motivation,” Diez said. “ . . . We always appreciate playing better teams because it helps us to get better and gets us ready for deep in our season.”