Coming down to the top 10 teams remaining in our top 20 rankings, it’s the South Side Cyclones landing at No.10. This Nassau County contender is back in Class B after spending the 2022 season in Class C where they appeared in the county final. Head Coach Steve DiPietro has been the head man in charge since 2008, and says his team is embracing the high expectations. “Iron sharpens Iron…Tremendous schedule that will get us battle tested for the challenges ahead. Good amount of returning players and embracing high expectations.”
The returning players feature a large group of seniors preparing for their final ride and a talented pool of juniors that come back a little more seasoned with more experience under their belt. The Cyclone’s welcome back their three starting attackmen of Ryan Mayerhofer, Owen West and Michael Aiello. The senior Mayerhofer who will be playing collegiately at Muhlenberg and led this trio in scoring with 26 goals and also added eight assists for 34 points in 2022. West who will be heading to Bryant in two years can step down and score from range and has a craftiness to his game. Besides his scoring, he’s a tremendous athlete and has shown that he’ll step up in South Side’s biggest games. Aiello can beat defenses multiple ways whether its as a scorer or a distributor. Last season he had a steady diet of goals and assists with 22 and 14.
South Side’s midfield sees the return of senior Jack Mayerhofer (Muhelnberg) and junior Cole DiPietro (Hobart). In his junior season Mayerhofer contributed with 12 points, scoring nine goals with three assists. As a sophomore DiPietro delivered 13 goals and 9 assists and can initiate for himself or be the recipient of plays made by his teammates. DiPietro will also impact the game defensively on the ride to force turnovers and create more possessions for his team. At the face-off X South Side returns one of the premier FOGO’s in the junior Cornell commit Michael Melkonian. The All-Long Island, All-County FOGO will look to replicate the success he had as a sophomore where he had a nearly 72% face-off percentage. With his return the Cyclones have a distinct advantage at the X more often than not.
On defense it will be led by defensemen Logan Kelly (Scranton, All-Conference), Pat Mullin (Providence, All-Conference), and short stick defensive midfielder Jack Lozito. Between the pipes will be the senior BU commit Tommy Gentile who’s been the starter dating back to his sophomore year. In 2022 he compiled a remarkable 154 saves, often making the tough ones look easy. Statistically the Cyclones defense allowed only a tick over 6 goals per game, number that they would surely sign up for this season.
As for the key graduates in last year’s class, the absence of Brady West (Loyola), Andrew Meindl (Skidmore), Luke Schwartzberg (Muhelnberg), Danny Capitelli (Catholic), and Patrick Erickson will be missed, but it just means that each returning player is given the chance to step up even more.
The tough schedule that coach DiPietro alluded to begins with a non-league contest against Syosset on March 23rd. Throughout the season they will play a large slate of games both league and non-league against some competitive teams including Manhasset (3/29), Long Beach (4/4), Farmingdale (4/10), Wantagh (4/21), Massapequa (4/28), and Garden City (5/3).