Last season was another magical one for South Side’s girls’ soccer program as the Lady Cyclones repeated as New York State, Long Island and Nassau Class A champions, and in the process went undefeated with a mark of 18-0-1. The state crown was the 17th in team history, including its seventh in the last nine years.
The majority of starters return, putting a three-peat on the radar, but coach Shannon McEntee said her team must earn everything it gets.
“Every year brings a new challenge, and nobody’s going to hand us anything,” McEntee said after South Side kicked off the new campaign with a 3-0 win over Sacred Heart at Skelos Sports Complex on Sept. 9. “Nothing is guaranteed,” she added. “It’s always a different group [of girls] and each year they work really hard and take it game by game.”
The Lady Cyclones are part of a new-look Conference A-I with Garden City, Clarke, Cold Spring Harbor, Wantagh, Plainedge and Bellmore-JFK. “It’s going to be interesting facing a bunch of new teams,” said McEntee, who has eight returning starters including All-State selections Christina Klaum, Keri Cavallo, Kelsey Ford and Sarah McCarthy.
Klaum, a senior captain bound for Providence, and Cavallo, a junior, give the Lady Cyclones a tremendous one-two punch up front. In 2012, Klaum had 18 goals and 11 assists, and Cavallo 17 goals and 11 assists. Both scored in the opening win over Sacred Heart last week. Cavallo headed in a crossing pass from Julianna Pellegrini, and Klaum finished off a pass from Allie Diez. “Christina and Keri really feed off each other,” McEntee said. “If opponents choose to double either one of them, we’ll find a way to take advantage of it.”
Klaum, who also picked up All-American accolades last fall, is a four-year varsity player who found the net 19 times as a sophomore and 14 as a freshmen. Her goal against Sacred Heart was the 52nd of her career. “She’s a tireless and aggressive player who doesn’t back down from anyone,” McEntee said.
Ford, also a senior captain and four-year varsity player, anchors the defense. “She has tremendous defensive skills and her anticipation is spot-on,” McEntee said. The back row also features senior speedster Allie Ford, senior Jessica Hawley, who headed in Kelsey Ford’s corner kick for South Side’s first goal of 2013, and junior Tessa Considine, who missed last season due to injury.
McCarthy returns as the starting goalkeeper after an impressive varsity debut season that included a huge performance in the Long Island championship game victory over Islip on penalty kicks. “Sarah’s a great communicator and knows how to handle pressure,” McEntee said of McCarthy, a senior captain.
Leading the midfield is four-year varsity performer Katie Ford, a senior with speed and a knack for scoring big goals. Junior Stephanie Leonardo is a returning starter, Pellegrini assumes a starting role as a senior, junior Kayla Hospodka is healthy after missing a chunk of last year with an injury, and senior captain Hannah Serling will provide leadership.