CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Julie Beyar found herself in an unfamiliar area of the field yesterday afternoon. The South Side senior defender was playing as far upfield as the Cyclones forwards, giving an up-close-and-personal showcase of her raw power, usually reserved for set pieces in the middle of the field.
"Basically I just shoot it," Beyar said laughingly, "shoot for the best."
Beyar scored her first career hat trick and Christina Klaum scored two goals as South Side defeated Williamsville South, 5-2, in the Class A girls soccer state semifinals at Cortland High School. South Side (14-2-4) plays Somers in the finals Sunday at 1 p.m. at Homer High School.
"She really stepped up," South Side coach Shannon McEntee said of Beyar. "We needed a leader today and she filled the role."
Beyar blasted a free kick against a strong wind from 32 yards out and the ball curved into the left side of the net to put South Side on top less than two minutes into the game.
"I hit it as hard as I can and drive through," she said. "I aim but . . . I just ripped it and it went in."
The lead was short-lived for the Cyclones as Williamsville South's Carissima Cutrona scored on a 30-yard shot on the right side less than two minutes later to tie the game at 1. Cutrona scored a second goal off a corner kick by Kate Edwards to put the Billies up 2-1 in the 14th minute.
Tessa Considine marked Cutrona for the remainder of the first half and players battled back-and-forth, drawing fouls against each other, with Considine ultimately being able to contain the Williamsville South sophomore.
Playing against the wind in the first half, South Side wisely kept its passes on the ground but had to play a slowed game as a result.
Williamsville South (16-3-1) led 2-1 at halftime and Cutrona had to leave to travel to a club tournament out of state. South Side's Keri Cavallo plays on the same regional development team as Cutrona and is unable to play this weekend.
Cutrona's absence, coupled with South Side playing with the wind in the second half radically altered the game.
The Cyclones unleashed a barrage of shots against Billies goalkeeper Lauren Haase (10 saves) who had to make lunging side-to-side and leaping saves.
Beyar got to a loose ball 15 yards out and fired it in to tie the game at 2 in the 46th minute. She notched her third goal on a shot from 35 yards out in the 56th minute to give South Side the lead.
The Cyclones put on a clinic for the rest of the game with Klaum scoring a pair of goals in the final 12 minutes.
Klaum and Victoria Reis executed a beautiful give-and-go sequence in the 69th minute. Less than two minutes later, Klaum headed in a Considine corner kick for the game's final score.
Kelsey Berki made five saves for South Side.