By Melanie Cane
For the seventh time in nine years, Rye Country Day School's Field Hockey team won the NYSAIS Championship. The reigning champions topped second-seeded Hackley 3-2 in an overtime nail biter November 5. This was the second year in a row that the Wildcats have beaten the Hornets in overtime for the title.
Rye Country Day played with high intensity from start to finish. They dominated the first half, but were unable to score due to the stellar play of Hackley goalie Jenny Canoni, who made 13 saves. The game was scoreless at halftime.
The Wildcats got on the board first on a goal by Olivia Friedberg. With 13 minutes left in the second half, Gemma Green drove down the left sideline on a breakaway. She crossed to Friedberg who backhanded it from mid-air into the left corner of the net. The Hornets scored five minutes later on a scramble in front of the net.
With the game knotted at one, both Olivia and her sister Elizabeth received green cards and were sidelined simultaneously. The Hornets players applauded when they went out on penalties. Hackley capitalized on their advantage by making a penalty stroke with 2:10 left.
But the moment the Friedberg sisters were back on the field, they channeled their anger into fine play. From center, Elizabeth carried the ball and passed to Olivia, who then maneuvered past the defenders down the field. Canoni came out to challenge and Olivia dove and sent the ball into the left corner with less than a minute to play.
The 2-2 tie at the end of regulation play sent the game into a ten-minute overtime. Four minutes in, Olivia dribbled to the top of the circle where she passed to Elizabeth. Elizabeth shot. Canoli stopped the ball, but Elizabeth hit the rebound into the left corner.
Shortly before the buzzer, Wildcat goalie Sabrina Reznik blocked a penalty stroke by Hackley, and the day belonged to Rye Country Day.
“It was an overwhelming and brutal matchup,” said Reznik, “and it took a total team effort to win the championship.”
The Friedberg sisters added, “We’re a really young team with a lot of new players and we worked really hard to come together. We’re so proud of the team!”
Describing their bond on the field, the sisters said, “Some people think we communicate telepathically, but really it’s just that we’ve been playing together for so long we know where one another will be. Sometimes we even switch positions if one of us is tired.”
Before the game, Coach Summers told her team that the championship might come down to green cards, so when both Friedbergs were carded, she was worried. But she was confident that if the game went into overtime the Wildcats had an advantage. “We are a small team so all of our scrimmages have been seven on seven as you have in overtime. We had a lot of practice with that formation, more than most other teams.”
The coach had high praise for the Friedberg sisters, Reznik, Green, and Paulina Harasimowicz, “our rock all season.”
Elizabeth Friedberg outrunning the Hornet defenders.
Gemma Green in hot pursuit of a loose ball
Coach Georgette Summers giving a championship plaque to sophomore goalie Sabrina Reznik.
The NYSAIS champs