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Rye Country Day Boys’ Lacrosse

Wildcats Beat Hackley in Overtime for NYSAIS Title

By Mitch Silver

What is it about Hackley? For some reason, the mere sight of a Hackley uniform no matter the sport has Rye Country Day athletes playing on a higher level than even they thought possible. It was certainly true May 24 at Manhattanville College when the two teams met to decide the championship of the New York State Association of Independent Schools boys’ lacrosse tournament.

Of course, it also could have been a grudge thing. The Hornets defeated the Wildcats 12-9 in the 2016 final at Randalls Island, and Coach Matt Rosolen’s boys certainly wanted payback. It looked like they would get it in spades this year when, after tromping Dalton and Trinity in the quarters and semis, Tommy Chai picked up the opening faceoff of the final, drove to his right, and slung a shot over the right shoulder of Hackley goalie Eli Hankin for the first score just 20 seconds into the game. Less than three minutes later, senior co-captain Chai fed sophomore Ray Konopka in front for a one-bounce shot and a 2-0 lead.

The Hornets called time out. There must have been Kickapoo Joy Juice in the Gatorade bottles in the huddle, because when play resumed Rye’s domination was gone. Suddenly, passes went awry, stick checks were missed, ground balls were bobbled. Hackley took advantage and scored. And scored. And scored. And scored. And, yes, scored with a minute left in the half to go up by 5-2.

The ragged play by the Grandview Avenue crew persisted right through the third period. Only senior Henry Shipman’s spectacular play in goal kept the score at 5-2 going into the final 12 minutes. But then the game looked out of reach when yet another giveaway in front led to a sixth Hackley goal by Will Jones at the nine-minute mark.

It was at that point that, as Assistant Coach Tim Silverman put it, “Tommy put the team on his back.” Chai scored on a nifty reverse from behind the cage at 6:32 to make it 6-3. Like the Prince kissing Sleeping Beauty, it woke things up.

Chai scored a minute later on a solo effort that included moves with his stick that should lead to a re-recording of “Hand Jive, that 50s hit. It was 6-4 Hackley.

Rye Country Day sophomore Harrison Roth managed to sneak a shot past Hankin’s right foot to cut the deficit to a single goal with two and a half minutes left in the game. And then, with 90 seconds to go, sophomore defender Isaac Sacks used his long stick to win the most important faceoff of his life. Chai picked up the ball and fooled Hankin with a jump shot for the goal that gave the Wildcats new life at 6-6.

In the first five-minute, sudden-victory OT, Chai had two shots stopped and Roth had a point-blank effort that was turned away. Then, with two minutes left in the second extra period, Shipman made a save and got the ball out to his defenseman who overshot his clearing pass, something the Wildcats must have done a dozen times or more. This time, though, Konopka was Johnny on the spot. He picked up the loose ball, rumbled down the right side, and whipped a shot past the startled keeper for the win.

After praising Shipman, Konopka, and what he termed “an airtight defense the whole second half,” Assistant Coach Brian O’Callaghan singled out Tommy Chai for special praise. “That kid has really broad shoulders.”

Wildcat sophomore Isaac Sacks (in white) battles for a faceoff.

Senior captain Tommy Chai, right, was ferocious in the 4th quarter.

Tommy Chai wards off a Hackley defender on his way to scoring the tying goal.

Holy Child Lacrosse

By Melanie Cane

The Gryphon Lacrosse team achieved two school firsts this season. They earned the No.1 slot in the NYSAIS — with a 13-5 regular season record — and went to win the championship. They dethroned Hackley, the No. 2 seed and reigning champion, in an action-packed final at Manhattanville on May 25. The score was 16-13.

Senior co-captain Charlotte Brosnan scored the first goal of the game from 8 meters. The Hornets answered with three consecutive goals. Lila Pfohl scored on a penalty shot after Emily Panarella forced a turnover on the transition. The Hornets answered that goal to make it 4-2. Madi Warne then ran the ball all the way downfield and passed to Ryan Delane who scored. Hackley scored again. Gryphon Olivia Bonner scored on a penalty shot and Brosnan tied it up on an assist from Martina Garate-Griot with .47 left on the clock. But in the final seconds of the half, the Hornets netted two quick goals to take a 7-5 lead into halftime.

Less than a minute into the second half, Pfohl scored off the draw. Hackley scored on their next possession. Bonner scored off the draw 10 seconds later, but the Hornets stung back quickly. With 17.56 left in the half, the Gryphons tied it at 9 on a shot from Brosnan. A minute later, Pfohl grabbed a loose ball and passed to Warne who scored to give the Gryphons their first lead since the first minute of the game. Emma McCuin followed up with a goal on a fast break.

With Holy Child up 11-9, Hackley called a time out.

When play resumed, Brosnan scored on a penalty shot, and Pfohl caught a pass by Warne in traffic to score. On the next play senior co-captain Charlotte Wertimer left the game with an injury and Hackley scored, making it a 13-10 game with 6.44 left to play. A minute later, Hackley scored again.

After Wertimer returned to the game, the Gryphons went on a tear. Brosnan, Pfohl, and McCuin all scored before Hackley netted two consecutive goals. At the buzzer, the Hornets had possession, but not the victory.

In this historic game, Brosnan scored six goals and Pfohl five. Sophomore goalie Symone Ryans played her best game of the season — making 15 saves and performing “acrobatics” to stop some of the shots. Panarella forced three turnovers and scooped up three ground balls.

Coach Catherine Conway attributed the girls’ success to a combination of factors. “We have a young team, but the seven freshman are very talented and they clicked and bonded with the veteran players early in the season. Also, the entire team committed to our game plan which was: get the first goal of the game, minimize turnovers, and win the draws.”

She praised co-captains Brosnan and Wertimer for providing great leadership. “In the first half, we were jittery and missed a lot of opportunities, but after my pep talk at halftime, the girls relaxed and brought it home.”

The captains hugging Coach Conway after the win

Charlotte Brosnan outrunning a Hackley defender

Charlotte Wertimer on the move

Lila Pfohl running the ball downfield

Madi Warne shoots and scores!

Goalie Symone Ryans getting help from Ryan Delane and Emma McGuin

The Gryphons displaying their championship plaques

By Mitch Silver

 

Eighth grader Matt Yamin not only competed on Rye Country Day’s Varsity Golf team this spring, but also did the unthinkable. The youngster averaged 38 for nine holes on the season to lead a team good enough to come in second in the Fairchester championships and second again in the New York State private schools tourney. And then he won the whole individual NYSAIS shebang.

 

Yamin posted a 75 while playing for most of the day in 30-mph winds and driving rain to tie three other golfers. On the first playoff hole, he shot a birdie to nab the trophy. For his efforts, Yamin will be playing in the State Federation Championships, which brings together New York’s best public, private, and parochial high school golfers, this weekend on the famous (and treacherous) Bethpage Black Course. And he’ll have sophomore teammate Charles Jolly, who’ll be playing in his second straight Federation tournament, right alongside him.

 

 

Their second-year Head Coach Leif Halverson is understandably excited. “We had a great season. Our varsity put up an 11-3-1 record. In addition to Matt’s accomplishments, our captains, Nick Jindal and Eddie Massaro, earned Honorable Mention honors for their play in the FAA Championship. Eddie will be graduating, but we’ll have the rest of our top six back next year, including freshman Jackson Gaynor and Charles Jolly’s brother, Sebastian, another talented eighth grader. The future looks good for the Rye Country Day Boys’ Golf team.”

 

 

Rye High Rowing

By Mitch Silver

 

The Garnets Rowing team, under Coach Stan Nelson, traveled to Saratoga Springs two weekends ago to compete in the State Championships on Saratoga Lake. One boat in particular, the Men’s Lightweight 4 with coxswain, would be defending the title they won in 2016. 

 

It’s no small thing to compete on home waters other than your own. Boats and gear of various sizes and descriptions make the trek on one trailer while food and the means to cook it for team members, family, and friends out at the course travel in another.

 

Out there on the lake, the boys in the boat — senior cox Zach Szabo and classmate John Dailey, plus juniors Tim Rudolph-Math, Jimmy Cronin, Jack Hartman — had the advantage of knowing they’d stood atop the podium 12 months earlier. And that, as New York champs, they’d rowed in both the SRAA Scholastic Nationals and the U.S. Rowing Youth Nationals, where they’d been silver medalists each time.

 

This time it was a stroll in the park. Or, rather, a paddle on the lake: the Garnets took the lead early and were never headed. Not even challenged. The boat’s winning time over the 1,500 meters was 4:55.90, a full 100 meters and 21 seconds ahead of the second-place crew. In fact, Rye’s lightweights would have beaten the heavyweight 4+ winners by five seconds.

 

So it’s on to SRAAs once more today and tomorrow in Camden, New Jersey, and then Youth Nationals in Sarasota in two weeks’ time. But they won’t be making that trip alone. Jillian Breen and Clara Sutherland took the bronze in the Women’s Lightweight Double, the best scholastic boat in the race. They, too, advance to the Youth Nationals. And Men’s captain Dailey and Rudolph-Math, Rye’s entry on the male side of the Lightweight Double, will compete in Florida in that event as well thanks to their silver medal finish in Saratoga.

 

Other terrific Garnet results: Troy Gilman, James Keller, Lachlan Nelson, Parker Vanamee and coxswain Jillian Breen won silver in the Men’s Junior 4+; Hall Luthringer, Jake Moore, Troy Gilman and Alex Farres came in second in the Mens Lightweight Quad; Parker Vanamee and Lachlan Nelson were runners-up in the Mens Junior Double. All three crews were the top scholastic boat in this combined high school/club regatta.

 

 

Shannon Ryan and Felicity Johnson were also tops among scholastic boats and fifth overall in the Women’s Junior Double. And, finally, Kayla Patel, Shoshi Daniels, Iman Syed, Erica Kinstel, and cox Zack Szabo finished as the 2d fastest scholastic boat in the Women’s Lightweight 4+coswain.

 

An exhausted John Dailey, Tim Rudolph-Math, Jimmy Cronin, Jack Hartman, and cox Zach Szabo (left to right) savor victory.

 

Jillian Breen and Clara Sutherland busy earning their trip to Nationals.

By Mitch Silver

Imagine how hard it is for an injured athlete to sit out the season. To watch your teammates play the sport you love knowing you’re unable to participate. Especially if you’re a high school senior whose scholastic career will be over.

Now imagine how much harder it is to sit out the season when you’re <not> injured. When you’re a past Sectional and New York State Federation champion who sits on the sidelines because your athletic eligibility has run out. Rye High senior James McHugh knows the feeling.

James spent his freshman year at a golf academy in Florida before transferring back to Rye. Which is why — despite twice winning the Section1 Boys’ Golf championship and the State Federation title — his only opportunity to set foot this spring on the Garnets’ home course at Rye Golf Club was to whack practice balls, while his coach, Pat Romano, led his team through another season.

Rye High Athletic Director Mike Arias and the Rye Lions Club decided to do something about it by naming James as Rye’s Athlete of the Month for June, just days before the annual Lions Club dinner at The Osborn to which all the monthly winners are invited and Rye’s Athlete of the Year is announced.

James is an <outstanding> golfer,” Arias said in announcing the honor. “He wasn’t able to participate this year, but we wanted to recognize him for all he’s accomplished. We have not had a June winner in the past, but an exception had to be made. 

A National Honor Society member, James is headed to Penn State in the fall,

Truly humbled by the award, James said, “There are so many talented athletes here and, for me to receive this, I don’t know what to say. It’s such a huge honor. I have to thank Coach Romano. He’s been such a big part of my life, and taught me so much. He’s amazing.”

The same can be said of James, a National Honor Society member who is headed to Penn State in the fall.

His older sister Kristen developed juvenile diabetes, now known as Type 1 Diabetes, when James was a baby. At age 6, he announced to his family, “I want to play golf for a living. And I’m going to use my money to build a golf course where kids like me can play all we want. And I’m giving the rest of my money to juvenile diabetes.”

True to his word, James raised thousands of dollars for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation over the years by setting up a “Beat the Kid” booth at local golf outings, challenging adult golfers — for a donation — to see who could hit their ball closest to the hole on a par-3.

He didn’t lose often. And now, with graduation just days away, he’s a winner once more.

Rye Neck Baseball

By Mitch Silver

 

It was post-season baseball played in pre-season weather. Less than 24 hours after a pair of 90°-plus days brought summer to Westchester, the thermometer registered half that at game time Saturday morning between 11th-seeded Rye Neck and their 6th-seeded rivals, Blind Brook.

 

The 8-11 Panthers were clear underdogs as two-dozen of their bundled-up fans huddled in the stands behind home plate. Not only were they playing on the other guy’s field, the 11-9 Trojans in the home dugout were brimming with confidence after traveling to Hornidge Road nine days earlier and defeating Coach Joe Carlucci’s squad by 4-1.

 

But these were the playoffs, and Rye Neck had an extra ace up their sleeves. Not only was their ace on the mound, Conor Liguori, hurling a 13-strikeout gem, but new Section One playoff rules extend a starter’s pitch count to 125 throws. So Liguori was able to keep bringing the only heat to be found in the area for 9 1/3 innings of an extra-inning game. 

 

How did they get there? Corey Parker led off the game with a walk, took second on a groundout, and scored on a Jack Sheldon single up the middle. In the 3rd, another walk, a balk, and Sheldon legging out a single for a second RBI made it 2-0. 

 

Blind Brook tied things up in the bottom of the fourth. Three base hits and a balk called on Liguori did the damage. It would have been more, but Christian Cefaloni made a stellar throw to third to cut down an advancing runner.

 

The score stayed 2-2 into extra innings, thanks in part to a tough catch of a windblown pop fly along the fence by first baseman Anthony Miceli. Sheldon got his third hit of the game to lead off the 8th on a grounder to deep short. He moved up on a perfectly executed hit-and-run (or more accurately, run-and-hit) single by Kevin Tamucci through the vacated second-baseman’s spot. But the rally died there.

 

The scoring drought extended through the ninth as both starters were throwing BBs (figures, since they were playing at Blind Brook). But even a 125-pitch limit has its limits. Corey Parker struck out on that 125th pitch to lead off the 10th, and Colin Kelley greeted his replacement with a solid single to center that became a triple when the center fielder slipped playing the ball. A walk to Sheldon placed runners at first and third. But instead of walking Tamucci to load the bases and create a force at the plate, the Trojans elected to pitch to him. A mile-high sacrifice fly brought home Kelley in a cloud of dust at the plate for the go-ahead run. A refrain of “Slide, Kelley, Slide”, anyone?

 

In the bottom of the 10th, it looked like turnabout would be fair play as Liguori’s own pitch limit saw him hand the ball to senior Christian Cefaloni after yielding a broken-bat liner past third on a one-out toss. Cefaloni walked the first batter he faced, but then calmly K’d the next two Trojans for the save.

 

After the game, Liguori acknowledged that, “We’ve been up-and down all season. So this win is really great for us.” The jubilant coach echoed his thoughts. “We played an error-free game. Their pitcher was good, but ours was just a little better.”

 

 

NEW: Rye Neck moved on to play three-seed Putnam Valley in the quarterfinals this past Tuesday. Sadly, the 15-6 Tigers ended the Panthers’ season in convincing fashion, with John Rainieri throwing a 10-strikeout five-hitter in the 9-0 victory.

 

 

Corey Parker blasts off after scoring the first run of the game.

 

A stunned Christian Cefaloni realizes his strikeout just won the game.