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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.

 

 

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 Melanie Cane

Goalie Maggie Devlin and defensive co-captain Lotje Rogaar led the Garnets to eight consecutive shutouts to end the regular season. The entire team can take credit for the 10-2-4 League record and championship. 

After winning the title for the ninth year in a row, Rye was seeded third in Sectionals, behind Lakeland and John Jay/Cross River, even though the Garnets beat the latter team during the regular season.

Rye shut out Pearl River 5-0 on October 27 in the Sectional quarterfinal at home. The Pirates never stood a chance against this rock-solid Garnet team.

In the first half, Lainie Agosta scored twice, both times with assistance from Lotje Rogaar. Kelly Ott also scored with help from Hanke Govaert. In the second half, Rogaar and Govaert added two more for a final of 5-0.

This win propelled the Garnets to the Section B semifinals against John Jay/Cross River (JJ/CR) on October 31.

They Indians came out strong and had a couple of good scoring opportunities in the first 15 minutes. Devlin made two great saves. Govaert put Rye on the board with a backhanded goal to give her team a 1-0 lead at the half. 

Rye came out more aggressively in the second half, with Rogaar quickly scoring on a corner shot and Agosta scoring on corner penalty, before John Jay broke Devlin’s nine-game shutout streak. But Rogaar added one more on a corner penalty and the final score was Garnets 4-1.

Coach Simon Hochstenbach said, “The girls played amazingly and put a lot of effort into the game.” 

Senior co-captain Agosta added: “We can’t wait to play the girls from Lakeland!” 

The challenge is that Lakeland hasn’t lost a game this season and has beaten Rye in their last eight championship matchups. 

The wait ended November 1, but the can-do approach was not enough. Lakeland ended the Garnets’ valiant run for a ninth consecutive time, 4-0.

Maggie Devlin making another one of her unbelievable saves in the semifinals against John Jay/Cross River

Co-captain Lainie Agosta with a key pass

Kelly Ott clearing the ball in quarterfinal.

Garnets after winning the quarterfinal matchup against Pearl River

 

— Photos by Melanie Cane and Maryse Govaert

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.”

Captions:

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 Mitch Silver

The Rye Country Day Wildcats faced three tough opponents in the first half of their New York State tournament play-in game Monday — the low October sun, the brutally gusting wind, and the ninth seeds from Packer Collegiate. Head Coach Cristiano Pereira diagnosed the problem at halftime with his team a goal behind: “We’re playing defensively. Let’s wake up and go on the attack.”

Was it the pep talk, the change of ends that gave the Wildcats both the sun and the wind, or a combination of all three? Whatever it was, the locals played the second half like a different, more aggressive squad. And it paid off nine minutes in when all-time leading scorer Cole Price raced into the right corner and spanked a cross beyond the far post to the waiting head of the youngest player on the field, freshman Troy Rigby. Packer’s keeper made a play for the ball, but sophomore James Leake beat him to it to knot the game at 1-1.

The wind and Price’s speed gave the home team numerous chances over the next half hour of play, but nothing found its way into the old onion bag, as they say on TV.

Before the first 10-minute overtime began, junior forward Brett Robinson must have downed some Kickapoo Joy Juice instead of Gatorade, because he would score a hat trick—while facing both the wind and sun once again — before the beleaguered Pelicans knew what hit them. First, Price beat two defenders along the end line. Then he fed a perfect pass to Robinson for the tap-in.

About three minutes later, Rye Country Day earned a corner kick from the left side. Robinson called what he did next “my spin move.” It freed him up by the far post for an easy header, making the OT score 3-1.

But he wasn’t done. With Packer’s defense pushing up in an all-out attempt to score, young Rigby fed the blond forward a nifty through ball. The goalie managed an initial stop, but Robinson scored on the second bite of the apple.

After the game, he was asked if he’d ever scored a hat trick before, in any game. “Never!” he said. “My teammates made it all possible.”

Price scored a final goal with a minute left in the second overtime to push the final tally to 5-1. For their troubles, the 8th-seeded Wildcats earned a match-up post-press time with top-ranked Riverdale in the main draw of the New York State Association of Independent Schools tournament. And they were happy to be there.

 

Cole Price races to set up the tying goal.

Midfielder Cole Boester pursues his man all the way to the sideline.