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Katherine Parker saves the day for South Side girls soccer team in win over Massapequa

Massapequa's Brianna Deluna, left, defends South Side's Jolie

Massapequa's Brianna Deluna, left, defends South Side's Jolie Creo during a game at John J. Burns Park on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

Goals: Alex McNicholas, 1. Saves: Kayla Klarides, 9.

That's how the boxscore will identify the heroes from South Side's 1-0 win over two-time defending state champion Massapequa Thursday night. And rightfully so.

McNicholas scored the winning goal on a free kick with 6:11 remaining. Klarides made nine saves, many acrobatic, to keep the game scoreless.

Nowhere in the boxscore will the name Katherine Parker be listed. Yet listen to her teammates describe the defender's heroics.

"I'm so happy to have her back there," Klarides said, "because that was an amazing save by her."

"She is just so fast and so smart," McNicholas said. "I thought it was going to go in. But she came out of nowhere and saved us."

All that saving talk must mean she's also a hero, right?

With 12:30 remaining in a scoreless game, the ball bounced through the box in front of South Side's goal. Klarides came off her line to break up the play. With the net empty, a shot was fired. Parker jumped in front of the ball, allowing it to hit her upper body, for a save that won't be found in the boxscore.

"Coach always says to protect your goalie first," Parker said. "So when Kayla went out, I knew to go behind her so they had no shot of getting it in."

A few other heroes who didn't make the boxscore: Ally Diez and Jolie Creo.

At halftime, Diez was told to peek over her shoulder at times to see what she could create downfield. So the midfielder did just that.

"I peeked," Diez said, "and saw Jolie wide open and I thought it was a perfect chance."

Diez sent a perfect through ball to a charging Creo, who beat a defender to the ball and got taken down from behind at the top of the box. A foul was called, setting up the free kick. McNicholas then chipped a shot over the wall of defenders and into the upper right corner of the net to give South Side a 1-0 lead with 6:11 remaining.

"I've been practicing that shot since I was a little girl," she said. "Massapequa is always one of the best teams we play and every year we want to beat them. I think it's really a confidence-booster. We're going to keep working as hard as we can because now we know how good we are."

A large reason why they are that good is Klarides, who shut out a previously unbeaten Massapequa team that had scored 19 goals in five games. She made a variety of pretty saves in the first half, including a lunging one-handed stop on a line drive.

"Well, I think their goalie stood on her head. She was phenomenal," Massapequa coach Bruce Stegner said. "She was in great position every time. She didn't drop one ball. I think maybe at times we panicked a little bit in the box. We rushed things when we could have had a little more time and space. We had a lot of chances and just didn't convert."

They didn't convert on their best chance because of that "save" by Parker.

"That 100 percent was a save," South Side coach Shannon McEntee said. "Not a deflection. A save. She read it, flung her body in front of the ball and let it hit her. You can't ask more of a defender. She did what she had to do to not let that ball go in. She saved the game."

Like the hero that she is.

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