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South Side girls soccer wins state Class A semifinal in penalty kicks

This South Side girls soccer team is new to playing during state championship weekends, but the program isn’t. The current team grew up idolizing players such as Crystal Dunn and the many South Side standouts that helped South Side win a state-record 17 state crowns.

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Now it’s their turn to continue that legacy. And the 2021 Cyclones aren’t looking to let that opportunity slip away.

South Side defeated Spencerport in penalty kicks, 4-3, after a 1-1 score over 110 minutes in a girls soccer state Class A semifinal at Tompkins Cortland Community College Saturday night.

South Side (14-3-2) plays New Hartford (21-0) in the state Class A championship at SUNY-Cortland at 3 p.m. Sunday. Spencerport finishes 19-1-1.

Nora Basile, Cristina LiCalzi, Anna Pennecke and Charley Doreste scored in penalty kicks. Doreste scored the final penalty-kick goal to deliver the victory. Goalkeeper Avery Testa also made a pivotal save in the penalty-kick period.

Emma Madden scored the game’s first goal off a rebound following a nice move and shot fired from 18 yards out by Kayla Hubler to give South Side a 1-0 lead with 25:24 remaining in the second half.

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Less than a minute after Madden’s goal, Spencerport had a golden opportunity to tie the score at 1 after a South Side defender fell inside the 18-yard box. But Testa charged out of the net and made the save to keep the Cyclones ahead 1-0.

But Spencerport broke through when Aleena Solano scored off an assist from Lindsay Lenhard with 4:08 remaining in the second half to tie the score at 1 and force overtime.

The Cyclones are coming off their second-straight Nassau Class A championship, and their second in the 2021 calendar year. South Side won a county title in April after the Long Island high school athletics schedule was altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic and carried its winning ways a few months later in the fall season.

But there were no state championships to follow, which created additional excitement for the Cyclones after their county championship victory Nov. 2.

Before April, South Side’s last county championship came in 2014, which also resulted in a Long Island Class A championship and trip to the state semifinals.

Judi Croutier, who guided South Side to eight Long Island titles in eight years before stepping down in 2010, returned to the sideline to lead the Cyclones this fall. South Side won five state titles under Croutier and plays for a sixth Sunday and 18th for the program.

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