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By Melanie Cane

When the Garnets lost the Girls’ Soccer Section championship on a questionable call by a referee, they did not argue with the ref, and moments later they shook hands with and congratulated the winning team. Their graciousness in defeat and respect for the refs are the qualities that earned this team the Westchester-Putnam Approved Soccer Officials Association Sportsmanship Award. Only one girls’ team and one boys’ team in the Section (Class AA, Class A, Class B, and Class C) receives the Sportsmanship Award. Last year, the Garnets were honored with the Sportsmanship Award from the Section’s Athletic Directors. And for the second consecutive year, Coach Rich Savage received the Coach of the Year award from his peers.

At the awards ceremony, Captains Isabel Castro and twins Hannah and Lilly Friedrich gave credit to Coach Savage “for teaching us the proper etiquette on and off the field, and for leading by example. It’s a huge honor for our team to accept the award and we’re very thankful for it. It means a lot to be recognized for qualities above and beyond playing the game.”

The Best Coach award is intricately intertwined with the Sportsmanship award, although they are not always given together. The girls on this team agree that Coach Savage deserved his award. They cited his exhortation from the beginning of the season: “I cannot make soccer your favorite sport, but I hope this is your favorite season.” They unanimously concurred that it was their favorite season because Coach Savage is “the most enthusiastic, involved, and caring coach we’ve have ever had. His coaching style is always changing to best suit the current team. He keeps our best interest at heart while pushing us to be the best people and players we can be. From the girls who start, to the girls who don't get as much time on the field, Savage ensures that everyone feels a part of the squad. He is an amazing coach and person who cares for all of us.”

Junior All-Section players Molly Broderick and Sarah DeGraw have nothing but praise about their coach. “He outdoes himself every year. He always believes in you, even when you doubt yourself. He motivates us all to succeed.” Other players added, “From the fun practices, to the toilet paper fights, to the birthday parties, to the team dinners, to the community service, Coach Savage does everything possible to facilitate team bonding and community involvement. He is a renaissance man of Rye soccer!”

Rich Savage is also Director of the Rye Youth Soccer Program in which over 1,000 boys and girls participate. Many of those young players attend the Varsity Soccer games. After each game, Savage takes a picture of the kids with the team to preserve the memory for everyone.

Coach Savage believes that, “any award or recognition I receive is just a reflection of an amazing group of girls. I think it’s more an award for the team than the individual. All 24 girls scored a goal this season. Moreover, they brought the entire soccer community together. What’s even more impressive is this is the second year in a row the girls won a Sportsmanship award for their exemplary behavior before, during, and after the games. Receiving two different sportsmanship awards from two different groups is an amazing accomplishment and speaks volumes for the team and the girls.”

 

The Garnet Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team with Rye Youth League Players after their last game of the season

Captains Lilly Friedrich, Isabel Castro, and Hannah Friedrich with Coach Rich Savage

 

 

By Wendy Hyer

Rye Racquet Club’s 3.5 40+ women’s team, the USTA Eastern section representative, arrived early at the National Championships in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida the weekend of Oct. 27-29 to get used to the Har-Tru courts.  Conditions were windy and rainy over the weekend, so mid-way the format was amended to allow them to get all the matches in.  Over three days of round robin play, the Racquet Scientists won all their matches, each time just pulling out the win over teams from Mid-Atlantic (3-2), New England (3-2), Hawaii (3-2) and Pacific Northwest (3-2).  In the semifinals on Sunday, they handed a tough Midwest team their first tournament loss winning it 3-2.  After a quick 30 minute break it was on to the finals against the Caribbean team, also undefeated.  It was oh so close with the final score again 3-2…but this time in favor of the team from Puerto Rico.

The Club’s 4.0 40+ women’s team was the Eastern section representative for USTA and traveled to Orlando, Florida the weekend of Oct. 20 for the National Championships.  Very windy conditions and a tough draw in the round robin group made play challenging.  The team came up short against both Southern California and then the Midwest team.  They finished strong however against Northern, winning 4 out of the 5 courts.  They were also able to play some tennis just for fun against the Caribbean team from Puerto Rico (amazing that they were able to come) and Texas, who became national champs. 

The 4.5+ 40+ women’s team traveled to Mobile, Alabama the weekend of Oct. 20-22 for the National Championships as the Eastern section representative.  In round robin play, they were an impressive 3-0, beating teams from Northern California (4-1), Hawaii (4-1) and a previously undefeated Pacific Northwest (3-2).  In the semi-finals, they faced a tough Florida team who came out on top 3-2.  Sadly, the weather gods prevented the last round from being played and Eastern ended up sharing 3rd place with Missouri Valley; similarly, Florida and Southern weren’t able to play for the championship and thus were declared co-winners.

By Mitch Silver

Owen Hull, a stalwart two-way lineman for the Section semifinalist football Garnets, was named September’s Athlete of the Month by Rye High’s Athletic Department in association with the Rye Lions Club. Hannah Friedrich, goalie on the Rye Girls’ Soccer team that lost the Section championship in four overtimes, was named October’s winner.

“Both of these students are richly deserving of this honor,” said Rye Athletic Director Michael Aria in making the award. “Owen and Hannah represent the best of Rye High School.”

Owen, a two-sport standout throughout his high school career, was a captain and starting middle linebacker for Head Coach Dino Garr’s 7-3 squad. Named to All-Section teams in both his sophomore and junior seasons, he will probably be in line for similar honors now that his senior season has drawn to a close.

The Syracuse-bound senior is an even better lacrosse player. Named All-League ever since his freshman year, Owen took All-State honors as a sophomore and will captain the Garnets once again this spring. “It’s a great honor to be chosen for your leadership skills by your teammates. It’s an even bigger honor to be named a captain by two different varsity teams.”

Hannah Friedrich, a triplet whose siblings Lilly and Carl also played varsity soccer for Rye, was chosen for her spectacular work in the nets for Rich Savage’s 17-2-1 team. In the Section finals, Hannah made several crucial saves (on an injured leg!) to keep Pearl River off the scoreboard for all of regulation time and into the fourth OT before the Pirates netted the winner.

Lions Club award winners are chosen for their excellence on the field, in the classroom, and out in the community. Ensconced on the High Honor Roll her entire high school career, Hannah has won departmental awards in History, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, English (three times), and, of course, Physical Education. The National Honor Society inductee hopes to attend Haverford College in the fall.

Both Owen and Hannah volunteer in the POTS (Part of the Solution) program that serves hot meals to needy residents in the Bronx. Owen also donates his time to the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital, and the two have spent summers teaching their respective sports to local kids.

The Lions Club honor qualifies Owen Hull and Hannah Friedrich to join future monthly winners in the race for Athlete of the Year.

 

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

If sports were injury-free, who knows how far the Gryphons’ Soccer team would have gone this season? They started off strong and maintained a high level of play until the last week of regular season, when due to multiple injuries, they were unable to sustain the momentum. Lead scorer and co-captain Ryan Delane and Lucy Egler suffered concussions and star defensive back and co-captain Madi Warne sustained injuries in the last game of the regulation play. Still, the team improved upon last year’s record, received the No. 6 seed in the FAA, and made it to the quarterfinals of the League tournament.

Second-year coach Mike Rivera said the team really grasped his style of play and applied it well. The girls played their hearts out and had many season highs.

One of the high points was beating rival Rye Country Day School 1-0 on October 12. Another, despite a 2-1 loss, was their game against top-ranked Sacred Heart-NY October 18. In the first half, Sacred Heart dominated so completely it looked as though the Gryphons were swimming in a sea of red. At halftime, Coach Rivera made adjustments and his girls shut down the Cardinals and scored.

Reflecting on the season, Rivera said, “One of our goals was to improve from the beginning of the season to the end, and everyone on this team knows they accomplished that.”

Holy Child is graduating four seniors who were key to its success: the three captains Delane, Warne, and Jax Pace, “the heart of the midfield,” as well as their most versatile player, Audrey Maglich. “Looking forward, our underclassman will have big shoes to fill,” said the coach. “Our seniors left their mark on this program and each of our players learned a lot from them. I look forward to next season and it can’t come soon enough.”

 

Emma Kryza with all the right moves

Ryan Delane transitioning

 

 

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.