It may have taken longer than they wanted, but after four overtimes and five rounds of penalty kicks, the South Side Lady Cyclones defeated the Islip Lady Buccaneers 1-0 Tuesday night at Dowling college for their second consecutive Long Island Class A championship.
The win, a rematch of last year's LI championship that yielded the same result, marks the 24th Long Island title for the South Side girls.
After a scoreless regulation and four overtime periods, the Lady Cyclones took the penalty kicks 3-2, featuring goals from captains Christina Klaum, Alex Reis and Keri Cavallo, along with two big saves from goalie Sarah McCarthy.
"I was confident in them," South Side head coach Shannon McEntee said. "Sarah shuts us down all the time in practice, so it was actually a little settling knowing how good she is at PKs."
Islip's Amanda Buck scored first in penalty kicks, followed by Klaum. McCarthy gave South Side the advantage by stopping the next Islip shooter with a diving save to her left.
McCarthy left the game for six minutes at the start of the second half after she was kicked in the face on a loose ball. The goalie, still bloodied at the end of the game, said she was confident from the start of PKs.
"I saw the girl come up and I knew she was freshman, so I was like 'This is my save, let's go,'" McCarthy said.
Reis and Islip's Lauren Sparks traded goals before Cavallo gave South Side a 3-2 lead.
"I was definitely nervous, but I knew my team had my back. We had talked about it -- no matter what, we're still a family," Cavallo said. "... It's an amazing feeling."
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It looked like the game was over after Islip's Cristina Rizzo shot the ball over the net, but South Side sweeper Jess Hawley mirrored the miss on the next shot.
McCarthy, however, put the game away with another diving save, this time to her right, as South Side took the championship.
"When I saw my sweeper miss ... I knew I had to make that save and get us to states," McCarthy said. "It feels amazing. All of the hard work is paying off."
Hawley's miss in PKs didn't overshadow the sweeper's play Tuesday night, as she led a defensive core that was constantly tested by a strong Islip offense. Hawley, along with Kelsey Ford, Allie Ford and Rebecca Buchman, kept the Lady Buccaneers' chances to a minimum throughout the night.
"They are just such a collective unit," McEntee said of her defense. "... They have just molded so well together. They're a wall."
"It feels amazing," McEntee added. "I cannot wait to go back to states."
South Side, the defending state champions, will now play for the New York State title this weekend in Cortland. The team's first game is Saturday at 5 p.m.