Furious rally sends South Side to state final


Trailing Yorktown by five goals and with the third quarter winding down in Wednesday’s New York State boys’ lacrosse Class B semifinal, the odds were stacked high against South Side to continue its magical season.

“The clock wasn’t in our favor and their goalie [Hunter Mezzatesta] was playing lights-out with about 10 saves in the first half,” Cyclones coach Steve DiPietro said. “We haven’t been behind like that all season but I didn’t think they could keep up that pace the whole game. I told the guys we weren’t getting back in it with one shot. It was going to be a process.”

DiPietro’s timeout with 4:09 remaining in the third proved a game-changer as the Cyclones exploded for seven straight goals thereafter to defeat Yorktown, 10-8, at the University of Albany.

“We started the second half sloppy,” DiPietro said. “Then after the timeout we started making little plays that led to big plays and goals. For us to get to 10 [goals] was just incredible.”

Senior Owen West broke at 7-7 deadlock with 5:32 left in regulation time and senior Liam Livingston netted the eventual game-winner with 3:15 to play. Yorktown’s Andrew Weissman fourth goal of the evening cut the margin back to one with 2:14 remaining, but senior Cole DiPietro sealed the deal with 36 seconds on the clock. Mezzatesta finished with 20 saves.

Win No. 20 in 21 games moved the Cyclones into the state championship game right in their own backyard. They’ll face Victor this Saturday at 3 p.m. at Hofstra University. Victor came up one goal short in last year's state final against Garden City.

South Side, which boasts 27 seniors on the roster, won its first county title since 2004 as well as the Long Island crown at Hofstra on May 24 and May 29, respectively. The Cyclones last won a state championship in 2004.

“There are so many parallels to 2004 it’s crazy,” coach DiPietro said.

Once again South Side’s faceoff dominance was a major factor in the outcome with senior Michael Melkonian winning 19 of 22 draws against Yorktown. Since the playoffs began, Melkonian has won a staggering 114 faceoffs and lost merely 10.  

“He’s one of the best in the country for a reason,” DiPietro said of Melkonian.

Senior Michael Aiello registered five points (two goals, three assists), with both of his goals coming after the 7-2 deficit. West had a hat trick and Livingston added two goals and two assists.