A good team’s focus must include the little things, because they mount up throughout the season. So says South Side’s first-year girls’ lacrosse coach Rob Devlin.
This season, the Lady Cyclones’ 9-0 showing in Nassau Conference II (12-3 overall) amounted to a second straight conference title and a number four seed in the playoffs.
Sustained by a veteran corps of eight returning starters from last year’s squad – which also went undefeated (11-0) in Conference II – South Side’s fine-tuned operation will hit the postseason in full career, springboarding off an 18-5 romp against host Floral Park in the regular-season finale May 10.
And it should be noted, Devlin observed, that circumstances might have looked less rosy if not for one of those little things – namely, South Side midfielder Alex McNicholas’ stick-check steal that stopped a fast break in the closing seconds of an 8-7 home win over Oceanside May 8.
“I exhaled after that,” Devlin said. “If we lose that game we tie Oceanside for wins, but they’d have the tie-breaking win over us. Turnovers and mistakes are some of the little things that can add up to big things. Alex made a big play.”
McNicholas, a senior bound for the University of Louisville this fall, functions as an additional cog in a well-coordinated South Side defense led by seniors Katherine Parker, who received a partial scholarship to attend the University of Connecticut, Allie Barry and Alison Mahoney, a Marist College (Poughkeepsie) commit, with a pair of freshman – goalkeeper Jillian Schumacher and defender Nicolina Mauro – complementing the tight-knit unit.
“Defensively, it’s about communication,” Devlin said. “Thankfully our three senior girls out there probably played together since third grade. Their communication’s great. Katherine’s our inspirational leader on defense, and they’ve all helped Jillian, who’s become a true goaltender.”
Furnishing South Side’s defense with leads to protect has been a task ably met by senior attacker Bridget Considine – a Stony Brook University commit – who finished second in Conference II scoring with 84 points, and second in goals with 55, while setting South Side’s career scoring mark of 273 points.
“Bridget’s having a phenomenal year and she’s been consistent throughout her four years,” Devlin said.
Considine’s main facilitator is junior midfielder Jolie Creo, who was second on South Side with 26 assists and finished sixth in Conference II with 64 points.
“Jolie has one of the best left-handed shots in motion I’ve seen,” Devlin said. “And she’s not afraid to drive from the top of the arc and finish her shots.”
Earning a first-round bye, South Side is set to join playoff competition in the quarterfinal round this Thursday against the winner of the first-round contest between fifth-seeded Lynbrook and No. 12 Hewlett.
“It won’t be easy getting to the semifinals,” Devlin said. “But I think, if we get there, we can hang with anybody.”