The second-seeded South Side Lady Cyclones girls volleyball team can officially call itself a champion after defeating the top-seeded Wantagh Lady Warriors 3-1 in the Nassau County Class A final at Adelphi University on Sunday afternoon.
The final was a rematch of last year’s championship game, in which Wantagh defeated the Lady Cyclones in five sets for its third consecutive Class A county title. This year’s contest yielded different results, however, as it was South Side who came out victorious.
“It feels phenomenal,” South Side head coach Cheryl Scalice said. “Especially with the kind of season that everybody has had with the storms and what not. We didn’t even know if the playoffs would go off.”
“This team is a really hardworking group of girls who wanted it from day one and worked for it,” Scalice added. “You preach things to kids and when they do what you say and they get what they deserve, it’s really a nice feeling.”
Wantagh looked like the defending champs early, coming out strong in the first set with five straight points to start the match and eventually taking the set by a score of 25-17.
South Side rebounded in the second set with a 25-17 victory of its own, which tied things up 1-1.
The third set featured a thrilling comeback by South Side that showcased South Side’s championship caliber resiliency. After falling behind by as many as nine points, the Lady Cyclones rallied to take the set 25-22 and put themselves within a set of the county championship.
After going back and forth early in the fourth set, South Side grabbed the lead 10-9 and never looked back. With only two points standing in between the Lady Cyclones and the county title, a portion of the Adelphi gymnasium’s lights went out, causing a brief delay in the action. When play resumed, the Lady Cyclones took care of business by winning the set 25-14 and capturing the county title in four sets by the final score of 3-1.
“We have one philosophy and that is to basically get out there and play to win and the girls did that,” Scalice said. “That’s kind of been our one philosophy all year: to go for it 100 percent and maybe you’ll just get what you want.”
On the other side of the court, the loss signaled the end of another successful season for Wantagh, as well as its run of three straight county titles. Despite the loss, head coach Kate McKeefrey was still proud of her team.
“They are phenomenal,” McKeefrey said. “I love each and every one of them to death. They have worked so hard this year and it just fell the other way today, that’s all.”
South Side will now play either Ward Melville or Lindenhurst for the Class A Long Island Championship on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Carle Place High School.