South Side returns top top of mountain
There are 4,800 seconds of regulation in a soccer game. But the biggest moments in South Side's Class A state championship season came when regulation wasn't enough and the seconds left to play in overtime were dwindling.
First came the Nassau County final against Division, a team that had defeated and tied South Side during the regular season. The Cyclones came back twice, with senior defender Julie Beyar blasting in a free kick from more than 30 yards out to tie the game with 11 seconds left in the second overtime. Meaghan Hines scored early in the third OT to give South Side its 23rd county title.
The dramatic comeback win made South Side's leading scorer Christina Klaum (20 goals) realize a state championship was possible.
"Nobody really knew throughout the season what it meant to play with heart," said Klaum, who scored the first game-tying goal against Division. "We all gave it 110 percent. We came back twice and I thought, 'Wow we could really do it now.' "
Klaum, named finals MVP, scored 11 of her 20 goals in the postseason and had only one goal less than South Side's next five scorers combined.
"We had problems scoring throughout the season and we didn't put away all of our opportunities," Klaum said. "During the playoffs, you're given one game. There's nothing else but one game. I had the determination to score."
With Klaum controlling most of the offense it was South Side's defense led by Beyar, Tessa Considine and Sam Ford that limited opponent's chances to score on goalkeeper Kelsey Berki.
The Cyclones came back again in a state semifinal, turning what had been a competitive 2-1 game in the first half into a clinic as they defeated Williamsville South, 5-2, with Beyar scoring her first career hat trick and Klaum adding two goals.
Somers stood between South Side and its 16th state championship and for 80 minutes of regulation the teams were deadlocked, nearly even in every statistic and unable to score.
"I thought they were a little more threatening in regulation time," South Side coach Shannon McEntee said. "We really had a push in overtime."
Through three periods of overtime spanning 25 more minutes, there still was no score. With one last five-minute overtime period to play, the Cyclones made every effort to ensure they would not share the title.
Klaum battled a Somers player for the ball and got the worse end of a physical play, cutting her lip as she was thrown to the ground with two minutes remaining.
Katie Ford came in for Klaum, a decision McEntee said she had complete confidence in because "every time we put her into the game she makes stuff happen."
Ford won South Side the state title less than a minute later when she leaped at the top of the box and headed the ball over the Somers goalkeeper with 1:01 remaining in the fourth OT.
When the scoreboard or clock was against them the Cyclones rallied and McEntee said she'll always remember "how they wouldn't give up."