After upending Calhoun in a Nassau Class B girls’ lacrosse quarterfinal playoff showdown, South Side prepared this week to play Manhasset, the top-ranked team in the nation by uslaxmagazine.com.
The Lady Cyclones dominated Calhoun, 19-4, on May 16 as junior attack wing Julia Gentile led with four goals and two assists, followed by midfielders sophomore Katie McMahon, freshman EllaGrace Delmond and senior Ailis DeTommaso, who all scored three goals. South Side lead 12-2 at halftime.
Even though the Lady Cyclones (7-2 in Conference II, 8-7 overall) defeated the Lady Colts 20-7 early in the season, head coach Rob Devlin was concerned his squad and Calhoun (2-8 in-league, 4-10 overall) both played one-goal games against in-league rival Seaford, who placed third in the conference at 7-3 and 10-5 overall.
“We knew this game could go either way and the girls just came out really pumped up and never allowed them to think they were in the game,” Devlin said.
With the quarterfinal win, No. 4 South Side took one step deeper into the postseason compared to last year and immediately turned its attention to No. 1 Manhasset (15-1 overall, 8-1 in Conference I). The teams will face off in a semifinal match at 4 pm Thursday at Adelphi.
Devlin told his captains they must use their playoff participation in lacrosse and other sports to help prepare their freshmen-and-sophomore-heavy squad to peak against the team that tops the national high school rankings.
“We told them, you guys have the experience and we really need to emphasize, from this point forward, that good isn’t good enough,” he said. “Everything just needs to be sharp and we need to hold everyone accountable at practice.”
Win or lose, Devlin is proud of his young team’s progress in 2018, especially with how the offense spread the goals around and the defensemen stepped up after losing key players.
DeTommaso leads the Lady Cyclones with 41 goals, followed by McMahon, who has 40. Fellow middy senior Jolie Creo, a varsity newcomer, leads in points with 33 goals and 37 assists. Gentile has posted 30 goals, while Delmond and freshman attack wing Sydney Rathjen have deposited 29 apiece.
“When you have six girls with 29 goals or more, that’s a success I think,” Devlin said. “It’s really worked out according to plan.”
Devlin believes his players became a team after a late-season 10-8 loss at Locust Valley. They regrouped, hosted Farmingdale and won 17-15, thanks in part to Delmond, Gentile and McMahon each netting four goals while Creo notched three.
Meanwhile, senior captain and first-year starter Olivia Watterson was the glue of an otherwise young backfield after three defensive starters graduated last year and played Division I ball as college freshmen. Devlin calls Watterson one the best captains he’s ever coached.
“Olivia just has such a good spirit about her, but she gets on teammates and if they aren’t following through, she steps up her game in practice,” he said. “She really ended up being a phenomenal leader back down on defense.”