The South Side girls volleyball team’s county championship season ended on a bittersweet note Tuesday night, losing to Kings Park 3-0 in the Long Island Class A championship final at Carle Place High School.
After beating three-time defending Nassau County champion Wantagh in four sets on Sunday, the Lady Cyclones were faced with the challenge of playing another defending champion in Kings Park, who were looking to repeat as Long Island Class A champions. Unfortunately, South Side was unable to stop the Lady Kingsmen from being crowned champs again.
“We scouted them and I knew the talent that was on the other side,” South Side head coach Cheryl Scalice said. “I actually was extraordinarily impressed with hanging with them and digging, spiking and blocking with a team that maybe had a few more able bodies than we did and a lot of talent.”
“The girls were really proud of how they played and I was more in awe of how well they played than I was upset about losing, honestly,” Scalice added.
The first set showed why each team was named champion of their respective county, as the two squads traded the lead back-and-forth in a fiercely competitive round. With the score tied at 23, Kings Park head coach Elizabeth Manly called a timeout and the Lady Kingsmen came out of the huddle strong, scoring the next two points and winning the set by a score of 25-23 to take a 1-0 lead.
Kings Park then kicked it into high gear winning the next two sets by the scores of 25-13 and 25-17 to win the match in three sets and reclaim the throne as Long Island Class A champions.
“It’s simply amazing,” Manly said. “The fact that we had never done it before and we did it last year and we did it back-to-back, I’m so proud of my team. They are such hard workers and they deserve every bit of it.”
The Lady Kingsmen will now travel to the Glenn Falls Civic Centre to begin their quest for the state championship on Saturday afternoon.
“I fully anticipate being in that state championship on Sunday,” Manly said. “I think that we have a very, very talented team and I’m so excited. They are hungry for that state championship. Last year they finished third, so hoping for the best.”
With a Nassau County championship to their name, the Lady Cyclones were still a proud team after the loss.
“The girls are standing here and talking about tears of joy,” Scalice said. “They are literally crying that it’s the best season they could have ever hoped for and the seniors are feeling as though they left on their absolute best note.”
“It’s been a really fun season,” Scalice added. “These girls are a nice, hard working group of girls and I’m not the slightest bit disappointed at all.”