Shorthanded on the field and sideline, and trailing Jericho by a goal with time ticking away in the Nassau Class A boys’ soccer championship game on Nov. 6, South Side stepped up in the face of adversity and pulled even with 15:45 remaining. However, David Greenbaum answered a little more than seven minutes later for the seventh-seeded Jayhawks, who scored twice in 25 seconds to claim a third consecutive county title, 3-1, at Adelphi.
A free kick off the foot of Jake Zorfas led to the winning goal. Jack Roberts headed it in the box and it went right to Greenbaum, who calmly drove it past Cyclones goalkeeper Thomas Germano with 8:28 left. Andrew Greenblatt provided an insurance tally on a pass from Noah Zeiff.
The late heroics became necessary after South Side found another gear following the ejections of Matt DiLuccio and coach Fred Paul after they were issued red cards with 28:21 remaining. Despite playing a man down, the fourth-seeded Cyclones controlled the tempo for the next 20 minutes and managed to tie the game on a goal by Jack McKenna.
“I couldn’t be more proud of how our kids played, especially in the last 28 minutes,” Paul said. “They showed their character. I thought we were the better side for that 20-minute stretch even though we were playing with 10.”
It was South Side’s fourth appearance in the county finals in five years. It lost the 2012 championship game to Jericho last season, 1-0. “Jericho’s a strong team,” Paul said. “In my opinion, we’ve been as good as they’ve been the past two years. But they found a way to beat us in the big games. That’s the way sports goes sometimes.”
The Jayhawks took a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute on Zach Brown’s first goal of the year, set up by Drew Shuman. “They made a nice play, but we had every opportunity to clear the ball out of the box,” Paul said. “They controlled the rest of the half after they scored, but Thomas made a couple of nice saves to keep the difference at one goal.”
Germano, an All-County selection along with Chuck Leone and Alessandro Pugliese, made nine saves. Jericho’s Reed Ginsberg made 10 stops.