PLAYOFFS: South Side Girls Soccer Comes Back to Win Nassau Title

Late goals from Stephanie Leonardo, Katie Ford lead the Lady Cyclones past Garden City.

The top-ranked South Side Lady Cyclones soccer team scored two goals in the final 13 minutes in a come-from-behind 2-1 win over the No. 2 Garden City Lady Trojans Monday afternoon to claim the Nassau County Class A championship.

South Side's Stephanie Leonardo and Katie Ford picked their team up with two late goals after the Lady Cylones trailed for the first time all season.

"It's very exciting," South Side head coach Shannon McEntee said after the win. "Katie Ford is a rockstar, again. ... Stephanie came out of nowhere for that corner kick. It was fantastic."

After a scoreless first half that saw few chances for either team, South Side had a chance to take the lead five minutes into the second half when Christina Klaum got loose inside the box, but the Lady Cyclones' forward pushed the ball wide left.

Garden City's Haley O'Hanlon grabbed the game's first goal with a little more than 21 minutes left in the game. O'Hanlon took a direct kick from 20 yards out, bent the ball over South Side's wall and into the top left corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.

"We were still confident, we just had to transition back to our game," McEntee Said. "We got sucked into their 'kickball' a little bit there."

South Side responded less than 10 minutes later when a corner kick from Kelsey Ford -- the star of Sunday afternoon's semifinal -- carried over a group crowded in front of the goal and onto the foot of Leonardo, who buried the ball out of midair to tie the game.

"I just saw the ball floating through the air and I was like 'There's no way this is getting by,'" Leonardo said. "I just wanted to find the back of the net."

Five minutes later, Katie Ford, who also scored last year's state title-winning goal, gave the Lady Cyclones their first lead of the game.

A header from Klaum led Katie Ford down the field and into the 6-yard box, where she settled the ball and put it past the Garden City goalkeeper for a 2-1 lead.

"Whenever you're in the 6-yard box you have to take a chance and shoot it," Katie Ford said. "I just trapped it with one of my feet and kicked it as hard as I could with my left and I'm lucky it went in. ... It feels great."

After the goal, South Side held the lead for the last seven minutes of the game to claim its second consecutive Nassau County Class A championship.

"I think all around, [our] defense played solid," McEntee said. "They got involved with the offense; they were all over the place. They just really wanted this."

South Side will now play No. 3 Islip in a rematch of last year's Long Island Class A championship Tuesday night at 5 p.m. at Dowling College. Islip upset top-seeded Sayville earlier this week in the Suffolk County championship.


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