Of the five point-blank saves South Side senior goalie Dylan Harloff made against Long Beach in the third quarter of last Friday’s Nassau Class B boys’ lacrosse quarterfinal, none was bigger than the last.
It came in the closing seconds and led to an incredible transition goal by senior Brian Albertsen at the horn that broke the fourth tie of the night and spurned the Cyclones to an 11-5 victory.
“Dylan played the best game of his life and that go-ahead goal gave us momentum for good,” South Side coach Steve DiPietro said. “That was the play of the year. It was back-and-forth all night up to that point.”
Junior Nick LiCalzi set up Albertsen on the eventual winner as the third-seeded Cyclones (12-4) advanced to meet No. 2 Garden City in the semifinals at Hofstra on Thursday at 7 p.m. A year ago in the semis, the Trojans prevailed 3-2 in overtime.
“Everyone has Garden City and Manhasset penciled in for the finals,” DiPietro said. “We’re playing with house money. We have to play smart and bring our best. Last year we showed if we do that, we have a shot.”
Senior William Pickett had four goals and one assist, and sophomore TJ Sheehan and freshman Brady West added two goals apiece for South Side, which cruised over Long Beach, 14-4, in their regular-season meeting April 10.
Senior Caleb Monzon had two goals and two assists for the sixth-seeded Marines (6-11), who were stopped 14 times by Harloff. “We didn’t finish well enough and credit goes to their goalie,” Long Beach coach Jason Pearl said. “He was lights-out. Our effort was great. No complaints. We fought back all game, just like we did all season after a difficult start.”
South Side closed the game with six unanswered goals, all within a span of eight minutes. Sophomore Thomas Kelly’s bull rush up the middle and hard, low shot gave it an 8-5 lead and provided Harloff with some breathing room. “It was tough the whole game until we opened things up in the fourth quarter,” Harloff said. “Long Beach definitely played with a lot of heart. We just gutted it out.”
West scored on South Side’s first shot 3:18 into the game and the lead held up after one quarter as both defenses showed poise and the ability to win one-on-one battles. Senior Andrew Kearns and juniors TJ McNicholas and Jack McDonald led the Cyclones’ unit, while seniors Alex Ramirez and Billy Tighe were the workhorses in front of Long Beach senior goalie Luke Mignoli.
Each team found the net three times in the second quarter. The Marines scored twice in 52 seconds, with sophomore Shane Murphy converting a feed from junior Conor Haag and then setting up senior Kieran Rowley to make it 3-3. Pickett’s unassisted tally with 13 seconds left in the half provided South Side with a 4-3 lead.
Long Beach, which eliminated Mepham in the first round, got third-quarter goals from Monzon and senior John Spinelli but never led.