By Mitch Silver

The Bronxville Broncos were the top seeds in the 2016 Section C tournament and slipped all the way to second this year. But they still pack a wallop, as the outgunned Panthers of Rye Neck discovered last week when they achieved a single shot on goal while losing 8-0. Even so, being knocked out of the playoffs by the Broncos for the second straight year doesn’t disguise the fact that Rye Neck field hockey is taking baby steps toward the top under first-year Head Coach Marissa Kluber.

A year ago, the Panthers had to win a play-in game just to be included in the main draw. This year, thanks in part to a stunning 5-0 defeat of Hastings in the last league game of the regular season, the team was seeded seventh, and thus was able to proceed directly to the stone wall that is Bronxville. One bright spot: despite yielding eight goals, keeper Natalie Sutter made 10 saves on the afternoon. The fact that she was still standing at the end of the game after 18 shots on goal is greatly to her credit.

After the game, Coach Kluber said, “I have seen tremendous improvement in the girls. It can be hard for the younger group to approach a team of juniors and seniors and look at their size and age difference, but the girls have developed into their positions and settled into their spots nicely and with more confidence.

As for Natalie, she’s a freshman and the position could have been intimidating. Instead, she improved right through the season. The Bronxville game was her second in a row facing a lot of shots: she made 18 saves out of 23 against Rye. We lost by five, but she really kept us in the competition. I’m looking forward to seeing her develop as the years go by.

April Zhung controls the middle of the field against Croton-Harmon.



By Melanie Cane

Head of the Charles Regatta is the largest and most prestigious two-day regatta in the world, with 11,000 athletes rowing in over 1,900 boats in 66 events. At the 53rd annual event held over the October 21 weekend, RowAmerica entered seven boats comprising 32 rowers, five coxswains, and four spare rowers, the most athletes they have ever sent.

All of Row America’s boats raced on October 22. In stunning fashion, the Women’s Youth 4+ led the team off with a first-place finish of 18:07.856, beating the second boat by nearly eight seconds.

Girls’ Coach Marko Serafimovski said, “I knew the Four was fast, but Head of the Charles is not all about speed, it is also about how well the coxswain steers down the course. I expected the girls to come in in the top three.” He added, “Secretly, I believed they could win, but I did not tell them that before the race!”

Junior Izzy Aronson coxswained the boat. The rowers were seniors Hannah Schaenman and Kelly Morrissy, and sophomores Ashley Giannetti and Emily Tonkel.

In addition to the Women’s Youth 4+, several other boats had solid performances. Girls’ Eight finished 17th out of 85 crews and the Girls’ Youth 2x earned 23 in a heat of 48.

The Men’s Youth 8+ placed ninth out of a field of 85. The rowers are mostly sophomores and juniors. Men’s Youth 4+ came in 30th out of 86, Men’s Youth 4x+ finished 15th out of 32, and the Men’s Youth 2x placed 28th out of 48.

Aleksandar Radovic, the Boys’ head coach, sees fall racing as preparation for the spring, “where we will have a chance to prove that we are one of the fastest clubs in the country.”

RAR’s results qualified five crews for next year’s Head of the Charles.

RowAmericaRye Women’s Youth 4+ team in their home waters 



By Mitch Silver

Has there ever been a Rye Neck Boys’ Soccer team with a defense this good?

The 2017 edition of a storied program stoned all comers to win the Sectional Class B title without allowing a goal in tournament play. The capper came Saturday morning, when the fourth-seeded Panthers traveled to Lakeland High and topped the number-two seeds from Briarcliff by 1-0 ...fittingly, by an own goal.

After 80 minutes of scoreless back-and-forth play, Jonathan Casas found himself with a corner kick in the first minute of OT. His effort reached Spencer Goldberg’s head and then the crossbar before deflecting off the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. Then Rye Neck squelched every Briarcliff effort the rest of the way for their first Sectional title since 2014.

Few people saw this coming. Head Coach Bryan Iacovelli and his assistant, Ivan Martinez, inherited a squad in September without stalwart starters Luis Galeano, Pierre and Noah Klur, Tim Kelley, Reed Peterson, and Fraser Shaw all lost to graduation. What the Hornidge Road boys <did> have was a pair of veteran goalkeepers in Tom Bermingham and Guillermo Pons, a hard-working, go-for-everything forward in Jack Sheldon, and a solid core of returning players.

Perhaps the biggest change from 2016 was the move of winger Donovan Dunning to the middle of the field. Dunning has made the position his own, using his speed and athleticism, as well as his soccer smarts, to knit the back line and forwards together. Has it paid off? Has it ever.

Seeded behind the Killer B’s of Blind Brook and Briarcliff thanks to a few mid-season overtime losses, the Panthers started slowly in their playoff opener against Westlake before a late Jon Casas goal on a set piece from 25 yards out broke the tie. Sheldon added the clincher with 10 seconds left when he flicked a free kick from Thomas Crook off his head. Bermingham had six saves for the winners.

The second-round game against Putnam Valley might have ended in the same 2-0 score, but it was entirely different. Dunning (“Double D”) picked up a loose ball off a corner kick on the left side of the box and perfectly placed it past the far post with just a minute gone in the contest. Jack Sheldon, that man again, headed in a Casas corner in the 15th minute of the second half to ice the win. Goalie Guillermo Pons only had to make one save.

The Blind Brook semifinal, delayed a day by rain, was going to be tough. Not only would it be played at the home of their archrivals, the Trojans were the top seeds in Class B. But the Panthers had defeated Blind Brook 2-1 October 12 and were confident going in.

After weathering some early attacks, Rye Neck was knocking on the door a half-hour into the game and appeared to go ahead when Thomas Hendrickx launched a left-footed kick that hit the twine behind the goalie. The twine it hit wasn’t the back of the net, though. The ball had sailed just over the crossbar and hit the soft fencing beyond.

The Panthers would score for real with just a minute left in the half when Sheldon turned the opposing right back inside out and sent one into the mixer that Jon Casas converted.

Fifteen minutes after the break, Rye Neck’s striker got one for himself. Rising above three Blind Brook defenders he must have jumped for 20 headers throughout the game Sheldon got just enough of the ball to pop it over the desperate fingers of the goalkeeper. And then it was on to the finals.

Rye Neck met Rhinebeck, the champions of Section 9, post-press time. The 15-3-1 Hawks beat Marlboro, Fallsburg, and Dover to win their first title since 2014, just like Rye Neck. The Panthers, meanwhile, are 7-0-2 since their last loss and haven’t allowed a goal in their last 464 minutes of play.

The winner plays the Long Island champions, either Wheatley or Center Moriches, tomorrow.


Center back Thomas Crook uses his head to break up a play.

Colin Kelley fights to maintain possession.



By Melanie Cane

At the conclusion of a stellar regular season that saw 21 of 24 Garnets score, the Rye High Soccer Girls’ Soccer team headed into playoffs with a league championship, undefeated in their league, and a top seed.

In their first game against Ardsley, October 24 Rye won 8-0 and those final three players scored, making it 24 of 24. Three days later, they beat Pelham 3-1 in the quarterfinals.

In the semifinals, the Garnets fought a very tough battle against Somers, last year’s Section runners-up. The Tuskers’ center back repeatedly kicked the ball in the air from one end of the field to the other, but Rye’s defense, led by goalie Hannah Friedrich and her twin sister, Lilly, protected their goal to maintain a scoreless first half.

Shortly after the start of the second half, the Tuskers found the back of the net with a corner kick. Rye fought back and began to play the ball on the ground, outrunning their defenders. Mia McGinty made an unbelievable surge towards the goal and was fouled in the box. Molly Broderick put a penalty shot away to tie the game. Her little brother, Tommy, who was a ball boy on the sideline, whispered, “Oh no, this is so much pressure for Molly!”

The Garnets continued to attack, and with eight minutes left in the game, Lilly Friedrich passed to Rachael Adelson, who raced down the right sideline and shot a cross to Amanda Engels who scored for the 2-1 win.

Then came the Section 1 Class A finals against defending champion Pearl River at Arlington High School in the monsoon conditions on October 29.

In the first half, neither team saw a good scoring opportunity. In the second half, Hannah Friedrich made a couple of blocking saves. Regulation ended with both teams scoreless.

Neither team scored in the two ten-minute overtimes, but Hannah Friedrich made a couple of diving, game-saving saves. Nor did either in the first five-minute sudden goal session.

Halfway into the second five-minute session, the referee called a corner penalty on Rye. It was indisputably an incorrect call. It should in fact have been a goalie kick by Hannah Friedrich, because the ball was last touched by a Pirate. The Pirates then scored to win the game. (If the game had been tied for two more minutes, the teams would have been named co-champions with the shootout winner advancing to Regionals.)  

Notwithstanding the turn of events, Coach Rich Savage said he was extremely proud of his team and they should be proud of themselves. “Their goal to become Section champions fell just a little short, but everyone on the team was fantastic on and off the field. Hannah Friedrich had an outstanding game, playing with an injured leg and kicking the ball with her weak leg. She made four fantastic saves to keep the game scoreless.”

The Coach continued, “The defensive line was impenetrable. The leadership of Broderick and the Friedrich twins provided both Leah Kenny and Katie Sack the direction they needed. Sara DeGraw was difficult to mark and had a few scoring opportunities that she missed by inches. Isabel Castro held the middle of the field for the corners and Mia McGinty and Rachael Adelson rose to the occasion. Amanda Engels was solid the entire game.”

He added, “Most importantly, everyone on the bench provided the energy the team needed, both in regulation and the four overtimes, for a total of 115 minutes! This is an outstanding team on and off the field. They have a special bond and will be remembered as a tremendous team that inspired the entire community. I will miss all the seniors next year. I feel lucky and privileged to have coached such a special group of girls.”


Hannah Friedrich making a jumping save

The Garnets enjoy a team moment after beating Somers.

Molly Broderick on a breakaway

Mia McGinty running to get ball from Amanda Engels.


By Melanie Cane

In their last regular season game, October 28 at home against Hopkins, the Wildcats overcame a whistle-happy referee, an 0-2 deficit, and a formidable foe to win 3-2. They finished the season 12-3 and are seeded first in the NYSAIS tournament.

In the first half, the Wildcats came out flat. They were struggling to adjust to a new formation implemented by Coach Georgette Summers to prepare for post-season by capitalizing on the individuals’ strengths. Four minutes into the half, Olivia Friedberg received a green card and Hopkins scored three minutes later.

The Hilltoppers racked up two corner penalties, but the Wildcats defense shut them down. Halfway through the first half, Wildcat Kaela Smith got off a great shot on a pass from Gemma Green, which missed the goal by inches. Then Rye Country Day failed to convert a corner. On the clear, Hopkins hit a long pass down the field where Wildcat Alana Jones was waiting to return the ball to her teammate Paulina Harasimowicz at midfield. Rye had a corner penalty and Elizabeth Friedberg missed the goal by inches. They earned another corner penalty and Green missed by inches again. The half ended with Rye down 0-1.

The Hilltoppers jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the second half on a corner penalty. Rye Country Day’s Green converted a corner penalty on a pass from Katherine Holtby at 25:32 to make it a 2-1 game. Green scored again less than a minute later. She took the ball into the circle, dodged several opponents, and then flicked it past the goalie. The Wildcats had several more corner penalties, where they took point-blank shots that the Hopkins goalie blocked with her body.

With seven minutes left to play, Wildcat Kaela Smith scored the winning goal on a tip in off Elizabeth Freidberg’s shot. Olivia Friedberg received a green card with six minutes left, but the team stepped up to play great defense in her absence.

Tension was high at the end of the game as Hopkins got a corner penalty at the final buzzer. They played the corner after the buzzer and Wildcat goalie Genny Kortick deflected the shot. Hopkins got off two more passes before Rye Country gained the game-ending possession.

This was the Wildcats’ second come-from-behind thriller in two games. On October 26, against Millbrook, they overcame a 0-2 deficit with ten minutes left to play and won 3-2 in OT.

This team thrives under pressure, noted Coach Summers, which bodes well for post-season. Rye Country Day hosted Nichols in the NYSIAS quarterfinals, post-press time. If they win, the Wildcats will host the semifinals November 3.

Hopkins players in pursuit of Elizabeth Friedberg

Olivia Friedberg chasing a loose ball.

Gemma Green in motion

Paulina Harasimowicz and Katherine Holtby in control in midfield

The Wildcats leaving the field after the win


By Mitch Silver

The Rye Garnets had a lot to play for when they met Yorktown last Friday night. First, the Class A semifinal would see the winner move on to play the defending champions from Somers High for all the Westchester/Rockland marbles. Second, it was a chance for Dino Garr’s team to avenge the 66-42 thumping the Huskers administered in 2016 in this same semifinal game. Third (as if they needed a third piece of motivation), Yorktown defeated Rye back in September by a score of 34-30 in a game the Garnets led 21-7 at halftime.

Seemingly all that stood between the Garnets and a title shot was Brett Makar, Yorktown’s Super 11 back. As it turned out, Makar was all the Huskers needed. He ran for 189 yards on the evening and scored a touchdown. He sacked Rye QB Declan Lavelle when the Garnets were mounting a comeback. And he intercepted a pass when it was do or die.

Here’s how it all went down. With both teams determined not to engage in another shootout, the teams left Charlie Murphy Field at halftime with the Huskers up 9-0. Lavelle, Rye’s phenomenal sophomore quarterback, hadn’t completed a pass. And yet the Garnets were upbeat.

“In the locker room, we talked about finishing,” Garr said after the game. “We didn’t make a couple of plays that we should have, so we talked about winning the battle on every snap.”

The change after the break was electric, as Rye scored twice to take the lead. Lavelle would throw for over 200 yards in the second half of play, and he scored on a 1-yard plunge. Then, 25 seconds into the final period, workhorse running back Billy Chabot gave Rye a 13-9 lead.

On the next series, the Huskers’ Tommy Weaver scored on a QB keeper to put his team back on top. Then a crucial sack by Makar turned possession over and led to what proved to be the winning score. Facing a third down at the Rye 40, Weaver lofted a throw that just eluded a Garnet interception by inches. Instead, it nestled in the arms of Alex Ujkaj, the same guy who caught the winning pass with under a minute to go in the teams’ earlier meeting.

Rye wasn’t finished. Lavelle led the Garnet and Black in their hurry-up offense, connecting on an aerial to Dylan Concavage with 1:18 left, a score that trimmed the deficit to 23-19. Rye tried an onside kick that the Huskers recovered. But Makar, of all people, fumbled the ball away in that final minute. The Garnets made it across midfield, but Yorktown’s all-everything player atoned for his boo-boo with a spectacular pick of Lavelle's Hail Mary.

After the game, Coach Garr was his usual upbeat self. “There are winners and losers on the scoreboard, but not in our locker room. To me, they’re all winners.” He was at pains to praise the offensive line: center A. J. Thompson and linemates Owen Hull, Tyler Webb, Stewart Moore, Jack Uiliano, and the other players who opened the holes and protected Lavelle. “You don’t go anywhere without a terrific line. They did everything I asked of them.”

So did the whole team.


(pic# 1517) The band of brothers comes together before the kickoff.

(pic# 1645) Gavin Kenney hauls in another pass from Declan Lavelle.