South Side celebrates after defeating Shoreham Wading River during the...

South Side celebrates after defeating Shoreham Wading River during the sudden death overtime period of the Long Island girls soccer Class A final at Dowling Sports Complex on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. Credit: Brad Penner

When South Side's bus pulls away to go upstate, Keri Cavallo won't have to wish her teammates good luck and wave them goodbye.

This time, she'll be on the bus with them.

Cavallo scored the winner in the first golden goal overtime to lift South Side to a 2-1 win over Shoreham-Wading River in the Class A southeast regional girls soccer final Saturday night at Dowling Sports Complex.

While the Cyclones are regulars at Cortland, Cavallo has never been. As a freshman and sophomore, she helped guide South Side to the state tournament. But she was unable to join them because of commitments to play in Florida with her regional team. "It was devastating," she said. "I was begging my mom to cancel my flight."

There are no flights to cancel this year. Cavallo will make her state tournament debut. And it was her goal that booked the trip.

Tessa Considine served a corner kick into a crowded box. Cavallo charged in near the back post and deflected the ball in . . . with her face. "I think I'm going to have a black eye," she said. "It's so worth it though. I just wanted to get anything I could on it."

Cavallo has been able to shift between the top and middle of the field as needed thanks to the emergence of Alex McNicholas.

Shoreham-Wading River keeper Lydia Kessel, who had 14 saves, made a diving stop on a shot off a corner kick. McNicholas gathered the ball and fired the rebound into the back of the net, giving South Side a 1-0 lead in the 45th minute.

"We've been talking about it since the beginning of the season," McNicholas said of the state tournament. "They say it's amazing. We finally got to where we wanted to go."

Emily Sopko delayed their trip after scoring the tying goal on a free kick from 35 yards out with just under two minutes remaining to pull Shoreham (18-1-1) even at 1.

That forced what was a thrilling overtime. Sopko had an opportunity to put in the winning goal on another free kick in the second overtime but Kayla Klarides, who had eight saves, leaped to tip it over the crossbar.

South Side (14-3-1) plays in the state semifinals on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Tompkins Cortland Community College against the winner of Pittsford Mendon and Williamsville East. "It's a great feeling to go back upstate," defender Rebecca Buchman said. "There are a lot of traditions that we do at states that we keep very secretive so everyone gets the real feel of being up there."

Cavallo finally gets to learn what those secret traditions are. "I can't wait," Cavallo said. "I've waited three years to find out."


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