The eighth-seeded South Side Cyclones are headed to the Nassau County Class A championship after defeating No. 4 Hewlett by the final score of 3-0 in the semifinals at Adelphi University Saturday afternoon.
“It only feels good if we take care of business on Monday,” South Side head coach Fred Paul said. “Our goal is not to get there. Our goal is to win it.”
The Cyclones offense exploded in the first half, scoring three goals in five minutes and staking them to a 3-0 lead that they would never relinquish.
Senior forward Kyle Morrissey opened up the scoring with a goal off a header in the box at 25:03 in the first half to give South Side a 1-0 lead.
Just minutes later at 23:57, Morrissey headed another ball passed the Hewlett goalkeeper, this time set up by a beautiful cross from junior Chuck Leone, giving the Cyclones a 2-0 lead and Morrissey his second goal of the game.
Sophomore Alessandro Pugliese added to South Side's lead by finding the back of the net after showcasing some flashy footwork dribbling through multiple Hewlett defenders and giving the Cyclones a 3-0 lead with 20:40 left in the first half.
In the second half, South Side tightened its defense and preserved the lead, giving them the 3-0 victory. Junior goalkeeper Thomas Germano was stellar in net, playing shut out ball with four saves before being lifted for freshman Josh Levine late in the game.
“We’re just playing our type of soccer,” Paul said after the game. “Play the ball on the ground and play together.”
“Literally less than 12 hours ago, we just had a double overtime game,” Hewlett coach Nick Lacetera said. "That’s 120 minutes of soccer, so we were definitely feeling a little bit of that.”
For Hewlett, the loss meant the end of an impressive season, in which the team went 8-2-2 and captured the No. 4 seed.
“It was a heck of a season,” Lacetera said. “South Side is a fantastic team. They really played very well. I’m proud of our boys. ... We’re not letting this one game ruin what we accomplished this year -- it was a great year.”
South Side will now play the winner of the other semifinal game between No. 2 Jericho in the Class A championship game on Monday at 5:30 p.m. at Adelphi University. The Cyclones are the only team that has beaten Jericho -- last year's state champs -- this season.