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An early season win over perennial Nassau County and New York state power Manhasset served as a statement of sorts.
South Side, coming off a sub-.500 season, was back in the Section 8 Class B title hunt.
The Cyclones wound up a strong season at 11-6, a five-win improvement over 2013.
For a look South Side in 2015, we turn to Stephen Parker.
One of the top defenders on Long Island, Parker ranks high in LaxLessons.com’s Top 100 preseason player rankings.
Now, here are Stephen’s perspectives on the upcoming season.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
Our team always switches off every other day, Monday through Thursday, between lifting and practicing throughout the winter.
This year, we have been playing at the Freeport Sports Complex, an indoor facility big enough to get everything done that we would if we were on a full size field.
At workouts, we have incorporated much more power lifting this year, in addition to the general cardio.
We play games every Sunday in Hickville.
We also have something at South Side called 500 club, where (South Side Head) Coach (Steve) DiPietro entrusts some of the senior leaders on the team to lead the younger guys in small groups to complete 500 reps of various drills and workouts, before our winter schedule even gets going. 500 club consists of things like lefty and righty passes, shots, over passes, sprints, shuffle sprints, groundballs and more.
We have always taken this very seriously as players, and it helps in keeping all of our football, soccer, and track participants sharp so that our winter is most productive.
How does your schedule look, what games are you looking forward to most, and who are some of your scrimmages against?
Coach DiPietro always does a great job of making sure that our team is battle tested before we get into our league schedule. We will participate in a four-way scrimmage along with St. Anthony’s, Massapequa and West Islip.
Our non-league schedule is always extremely tough, which includes Conference A teams, Syosset, Port Washington, Baldwin and Oceanside. We also play Conference C powerhouse Cold Spring Harbor.
We have always had pride at South Side in showing well in our non-league schedule, and Coach sets us up best for the year with this great competition.
In league, it is no easier, with teams like Lynbrook, Manhasset, Bethpage, Friends, Plainedge and North Shore.
We also play tough teams on the other side of B, Carey and Long Beach.
Personally, I know that everyone on the team would love to avenge our overtime loss to Syosset last year, and also beat Port Washington in our non league schedule.
In league, we would love to beat Manhasset for the second year in a row, we are looking forward to Lynbrook this year, and would also like to avenge our playoff upset by Bethpage last season.
In addition to these games that I know our team will be excited to play, we will be focused on our efforts to again beat Carey and Long Beach.
Friends Academy is another league opponent who will be interesting to match up against.
What players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
I think that we will have some offensive players really step up this year.
We graduated three of our top scorers.
Some players that I think will step up and replace them are senior midfielder Thomas Moore, a big righty and lefty shooter who can emerge as a great downhill dodger as well; Ryan Langdon, a sophomore attackman with great box style dodging and finishing skills; and Luke Scaduto, a senior midfielder who will be all over the field for us as a two-way midfielder who will do anything that could possibly be asked of him.
Sophomore attackman Mike Leake can also build on a good freshman season.
Defensively, we have one spot to fill, which we should have no trouble doing, with talented juniors Terence McMenamy and Brian Schaefer, both, of which I see earning important roles on the field.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
Considering we are returning three starters in myself, Steven DiMare and Joe LiCalzi, plus our goalie Dennis LiCalzi to a defense that allowed 5.7 goals last year, I believe that our defense will again be a strength of our team.
Coach “Paz” Passuelo does an inrcredible job of bringing an intense hard-nosed mentality to the defense that is reflected on the field. He has brought a real blue-collar attitude to South Side.
Coach Steve Serling has also done a great job of revamping our motion offense, and I believe that we will be able to score some goals this year with a very good attackman in Dylan Crossan quarterbacking our offense.
Crossan had a good year last year, and can be great this year as I see him becoming a bigger threat to score goals in addition to his feeding skills and great vision.
How do you view the race in your league and who do you think some of the contending teams will be?
Lynbrook of course is a team to beat after the run that they had last year. Manhasset will always be tough, and other teams like Bethpage and Friends Academy will be competitive on our side of Conference B.
On the other side, it looks like Garden City will be the frontrunner with other tough competition such as Wantagh, Carey, and Long Beach.
Despite the vast talent and competitiveness of Conference B, it is wide open this year, and I believe that South Side should be viewed as a team in that championship hunt.
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