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10 things to watch in the Nassau girls soccer playoffs

Catherine Hayes of Garden City, center, tries to

Catherine Hayes of Garden City, center, tries to squeeze past MacArthur teammates Savanna Breslin, left, and Kailee Coppola during a Nassau Conference A1 girls soccer game on Sept. 28, 2021. Credit: James Escher

1. Nassau Class A parity

Truly an "any given day" situation with nearly every team recording points against one another via a victory or tie. This should make for an incredible postseason. The teams that played in Nassau Conference A-I will know a lot about one another, and although seeds may dictate certain results as "upsets," nothing should come as a surprise.

2. Can South Side repeat?

South Side won its first county title since 2014 last season, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no opportunity to compete for a Long Island or state title. This year is different. South Side (7-3-2) has been one of the most consistent teams in Class A throughout the season on its quest for back-to-back county championships -- and maybe more. Nora Basile has led second-seeded South Side with 13 points as the Cyclones return an experienced team.

3. Can MacArthur take home the title?

The Generals entered last year’s postseason as a clear favorite to win the county title before having their undefeated season snapped by South Side in the final. And yet again, MacArthur enters this year's Class A playoffs as the top seed after an 8-4 season. The Generals returned a strong core from that team but have battled injuries throughout the season. Still, the Generals have played strong soccer all year, led by 17 goals from Hailey Hnis, Fiona Kilian and Kaitlyn Tung at midfield and Lexie Thompson in goal.

4. The Garden City way

The Trojans always find themselves in the championship picture, often utilizing a strong defensive approach. Garden City still has a tough backline, but its offense has taken over games this year, led by Maya Costa’s seven goals and 11 assists. Renee Gollisz has added five goals as a strong two-way midfielder. Garden City challenged itself with a tough non-league schedule with hopes of being ready for anything in the playoffs. Garden City enters as the No. 3 seed after a 6-3-3 season.

5. Plainedge party?

When a team gets bumped up a conference in Nassau’s ability-based alignment, it’s often for good reason. Plainedge has proved this all year, including a victory over South Side and two wins over MacArthur. Plainedge has had strong play from Reilley Turowski (11 goals, four assists), Emma Kelly (seven goals, six assists) and Sophia Cataldo (11 goals, two assists) as the Red Devils look to be the new team entering the Class A championship picture. Plainedge enters as the No. 4 seed with a 6-4-2 record.

6. Potential game-changers

A few players you’ll want to keep your eye on throughout the Class A playoffs:

-- Holly DiPalo, No. 8 Calhoun: The goalkeeper is the vocal leader at the back of the field and also has the athleticism to make pivotal stops in key games. She led Calhoun to a 9-1-2 record in Nassau A-II.

-- Morgan Griffin, No. 10 North Shore: The tough-minded midfielder had eight goals and eight assists this year and along with her running mate, Evelyn McCreery (seven goals, nine assists). North Shore (9-2-1, Nassau A-II), won’t be an easy matchup and could pull off an upset or two along the way.

-- Liz Modano, No. 5 Manhasset: She had 11 goals, many coming off assists from Mia Kraft and Rena Kalargiros this season.

-- Samiya Reid, No. 16 Floral Park: The Binghamton commit had 26 goals and 12 assists and can take over a game in a moment’s notice. If Floral Park gets past Lynbrook, it will take on top-seeded MacArthur, so Reid will need to be special to pull off an upset.

-- Luciana Setteducate, No. 6 Mepham: The Stony Brook commit is always at the center of the opposing team’s gameplans and she’s fought for six goals and two assists this year. She can take over a game in an instant and could will the Pirates to some postseason victories.

7. Massapequa’s revenge tour

Massapequa has won 15 of the last 18 county titles, including four state championships since 2015. Just not last year. That's when Syosset defeated Massapequa for the Nassau Class AA title.

Massapequa has looked like a team destined for a title since Day One this year, though. It capped off another undefeated regular season. With a deep starting lineup all over the field, it’s difficult to find a weakness in Massapequa’s game. Lia Howard leads the team with 10 goals and 20 assists. Gianna Savella has 17 goals and 10 assists, with Jessica Lynskey, Mia Baldinger and Thalia Morisi also playing pivotal roles all season. Massapequa will be the top seed in the playoffs and likely a team to watch in the state championship picture.

8. Syosset not ready to give up the throne

Syosset has won two of the last three Nassau Class AA championships and isn’t ready to give up the title of best in the county so easily. Syosset won last year’s county championship after losing both regular-season matchups with Massapequa. Can do the same thing this year?

Twin sisters Bella and Emma Romano, both committed to Navy, control the offensive and defensive parts of the field, with Bella totaling eight goals and three assists and Emma as a key defender. Riley Miller, at defense and midfield, and Eve Waldhauser in goal will be impact players in the playoffs for No. 3 Syosset.

But look at for No. 2 Oceanside as well. The Sailors defeated and tied Syosset in two matchups this season and will certainly be in the middle of the championship picture.

9. Nassau Class B playoffs

Wheatley, the defending Nassau Class B champion, enters the playoffs as the top seed. Caroline O’Brien leads the team with nine goals and six assists and Lexi Burke has seven goals and six assists. Wheatley split its two matchups with No. 2 Locust Valley, which has a strong duo in Laine Denatale (13 goals, five assists) and Payton Tini (eight goals, five assists).

10. The finals

Cold Spring Harbor High School will host the Nassau Class AA and A finals. Class AA plays November 1 at 7 p.m. and Class A plays November 2 at 7 p.m. The Class B final will be October 29 at 7 p.m. at a location to be determined.

Nassau Girls Soccer playoff schedule

Class AA on Friday

(8) Herricks at (1) Massapequa

(7) East Meadow at (2) Oceanside

(6) Port Washington at (3) Syosset

(5) Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK at (4) Farmingdale

Class A on Saturday

Winner of (17) Lynbrook/(16) Floral Park at (1) MacArthur

Winner of (18) Long Beach/(15) Friends Academy at (2) South Side

Winner of (19) Mineola/(14) Valley Stream South at No. 3 Garden City

Winner of (20) Great Neck North/(13) Bellmore JFK at No. 4 Plainedge

(12) New Hyde Park at (5) Manhasset

(11) Seaford at (6) Mepham

(10) North Shore at (7) Wantagh

(9) Bethpage at (8) Calhoun

Class B semifinals at Plainedge High School on October 25

(4) West Hempstead at (1) Wheatley

(3) Cold Spring Harbor at (2) Locust Valley

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