South Side only required a total of seven sets to take down Manhasset during two meetings this season.
But with a county title hanging in the balance in the third meeting, the Cyclones found themselves in need of a grand comeback on Thursday night.
Katelyn Tollefsen and Jaden Garelle led the way as No. 3 South Side defeated No. 4 Manhasset in the Nassau Class A girls volleyball final at LIU Post, 24-26, 16-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-19.
“I feel like at the end we just pushed with all of our might,” Garelle said. “And realized that this was ours and that we were taking it. Everybody played so well on both sides. I’m so proud of both teams.”
South Side (16-4) will face Kings Park in the Long Island championship at Happauge on Saturday at 3 p.m.
South Side got off to a quick 10-4 start in the final set, but Manhasset worked their way back to cut the deficit to 22-18. But the Cyclones buckled down and outlasted them in the end.
Trailing 8-7 in the early going of the fourth game, South Side evened the score at 8 and never looked back. The Cyclones led throughout the set, and scored nine out of the final 10 points to force a winner-take-all scenario.
“It was so exciting and so much fun,” Tollefsen said. “We lost the first two games but we knew we had to push to win the last three. We really stepped it up. They improved so much throughout the season. They were a really tough team to beat.
Manhasset created some breathing room in the second set, extending a 13-11 lead to 21-14 en route to a 2-0 advantage. After South Side built a 24-15 lead in the ensuing game, the Indians began storming back, scoring eight unanswered points to pull within 24-23. However, South Side regrouped following a timeout and notched the sealing point to force a fourth set.
Manhasset took a back-and-forth opening set, 26-24, as Ryan Tracy secured the Indians a 1-0 lead with a kill for Manhasset’s winning point.
“What I’m most proud about is how not one player put their head down and decided to feel bad for themselves or to give up,” South Side coach Cheryl Scalice said. “That’s a really hard thing to teach an athlete . . . to keep plugging away and keep pushing and believing in themselves is awesome.”