The South Side girls soccer team traveled upstate to Cortland with only one goal in mind. As they have done 15 times before in school history, the Lady Cyclones were focused on a New York State Class A title.
Battling tirelessly through a scoreless regulation with Somers High School of Section I on Sunday afternoon, followed by three scoreless overtimes, sophomore Katie Ford headed a ball over goalkeeper Beth Coppolecchia with just 1:01 remaining in the fourth overtime to claim title number 16 by a score of 1-0.
“As we got deeper into the overtimes, we were confident that we were going to score,” said Shannon McEntree, who completed her second year as South Side head coach. “We train for it, endurance wise, and we were on the attack the entire time and it was a matter of when we were going to put the ball in the back of the net.”
A day prior, South Side defeated Williamsville South of Section V by a 5-2 final score. In the semifinal matchup, senior Julie Beyer registered a hat trick and sophomore Christina Klaum scored twice. Klaum, who was named the finals MVP, led the team throughout the playoff run with 11 goals.
“Christina has been fantastic all season, but she really started to shine during the playoff bracket. On the field, she motivates the team and is constantly communicating,” McEntree added.
The Lady Cyclone defense, led by Beyer, senior Samantha Ford, and junior goalkeeper Kelsey Berki (10 saves), kept a talented Somers team off of the scoreboard. The eventual runner-ups finished with a record of 20-2-1, compared to a 15-2-4 overall record for champion South Side.
The run to a 16th title was by no means an easy task for South Side, who will graduate just six seniors. With shutouts of Lynbrook, Wantagh and Garden City, the Lady Cyclones topped then undefeated Division in triple overtime with a goal from Meghan Hines.
The win set up a Long Island title matchup with Suffolk champion Islip, where the Lady Cyclones edged out a 1-0 win. Klaum scored the lone goal in the first half to punch a ticket to the state tournament this past weekend.
South Side last won a state title in 2009, and with an upset in last years’ county finals, the team was looking for redemption. As their competition found out, it was only a matter of time before they found it.
“This season was just an incredible display of heart by the girls,” McEntee said.
With the majority of the team set to return next fall, a run for a second straight state title in Class A is very well within the realm of possibilities for the Lady Cyclones.