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South Side falls to New Hartford in state Class A final

South Side's Reese Haley, left, shields the ball

South Side's Reese Haley, left, shields the ball from New Hartford's Caroline Sekula during the NYSPHSAA Girls Soccer Championships Class A final in Cortland, N.Y., on Sunday. Credit: Adrian Kraus

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The South Side girls soccer program is one of the most prodigious for any sport in the state. And if this season is any indication, the Cyclones have a bright future to continue that legacy.

South Side started six sophomores this season, and that’s a rare occurrence for the Cyclones – or any championship team for that matter. But South Side was still able to win its first Long Island championship since 2014 and advance to the state championship.

But you can file this as a learning experience for the Cyclones, which fell to New Hartford, 2-1, in the girls soccer state Class A final Sunday afternoon. South Side has a state record 17 state championships, its last coming in 2012.

"They now have a taste of it," coach Judi Croutier said. "They know what states is like. You always hear about it, but once you get here, I think they’ll want to get back next year and work hard to reach it again."

New Hartford (22-0) struck midway through the first half on Willa Pratt’s goal and again with 31:29 remaining in the second half off Anna Rayhil’s goal.

South Side (14-4-2) quickly responded when Nora Basile scored off an assist from Maggie Colvin with 28:54 remaining in the second half. But the Cyclones couldn’t strike again.

"I’m definitely very proud of everybody," senior defender Cristina LiCalzi said. "Since the beginning of the season, we’ve always been a very motivated team and even though we didn’t get the result we wanted today, I think we did our best throughout the season."

After getting a taste of playing in the state championships, South Side’s young core strives to be back.

"It’s not something you would expect to be a part of as a sophomore and we have such a big group," sophomore Morgan Harloff said. "So hopefully we can continue this for the next two years we’re here. It’s definitely [extra motivation] and a very cool experience."

Even though it didn’t result in the program’s 18th state title, Croutier was pleased with the fight South Side showed in the state final and throughout the season.

"It’s so hard to get to the state final four," Croutier said. "So the fact that they got there and to the final game, that’s awesome. I’m so proud of them."

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