Rye High Football

By Mitch Silver

Harrison: 42 wins.

Rye: 42 wins.

When the two rival football teams ran onto the turf at McGillicuddy Field last Sunday afternoon in Harrison for the 88th renewal of The Game, their series dating back to 1929 was even-steven (thanks to three ties along the way). But before the clash there was togetherness, as Harrison’s Austin Evans and Rye’s Billy Chabot were each given awards for leadership and sportsmanship in memory of Rye’s Chris Mello, who died on 9/11.

Then the struggle began. The Huskies were out to break Rye’s recent stranglehold on the affair the Garnets having won 14 of the last 15 games. Rye looked to nose ahead of the all-time tally of wins and losses for the first time since 1966. Something had to give.

At first, it looked like Harrison’s day. The home team recovered their own opening kickoff, an onside surprise, at midfield. Two minutes later they were in Rye’s end zone as senior running back Evans took a direct snap on fourth-and-short and rumbled in from the 4-yard line.

Rye appeared stunned and played like it. When Garnet senior Gavin Kenny grabbed a punt that seemed destined for the end zone later in the quarter and was nailed on his own 4, things looked especially grim. But Kenny redeemed himself three plays later when, wide open, he caught a perfect spiral from sophomore quarterback Declan Lavelle and danced in for the 96-yard tying score.

Rye would have a chance to go ahead when senior co-captain Chabot had the pigskin in his hands at Harrison’s 1-yard line. But a stripped ball and a Husky recovery in the end zone denied the visitors the opportunity.

Were the Garnets snake-bit? It certainly seemed a possibility at halftime with the scoreboard stuck on 7-7. But the 2017 edition is nothing if not a second-half team. Earlier this season they pulverized both Byram Hills and Eastchester with bushels of touchdowns after the break. Even their losses to defending State champ Somers and powerhouse Yorktown saw the boys in garnet and black storm back after falling behind early. And, for Harrison, Sunday was no different.

With 3:40 left in the third quarter, Lavelle connected with senior Peter Chabot, who seemed to have been stopped for a nice gain. But then he wrenched himself free of the tackle and went the rest of the 59 yards. Rye 14, Harrison 7.

Exactly four plays later, Kenny forced a fumble with a bone-jarring hit in front of Harrison’s stands that was recovered by sophomore teammate Brendan Lavelle. Billy Chabot blew through the Huskies on the very next play for a 55-yard TD.

Mello winner Chabot would score again early in the fourth quarter after 45-yard pass to senior Kyle Doran set up his 1-yard plunge. Senior Grant Myerson, who was all over the field running the ball and making tackles, sacked Harrison quarterback Frank Nannariello. Then classmate Dylan Concavage recovered a fumble before taking a 15-yard TD toss from Lavelle, capping a 5:18 blitz that turned a tie game into a rout. The victory sent Rye ahead in the all-time series and into the Blind Brook after the game.

Was it just a case of too many Chabots and Lavelles? Rye Head Coach Dino Garr had praise for everyone afterwards. “Seniors Chase Bekkerus and Owen Hull, junior Lachlan Nelson and the rest of the guys up front were finally too much on both sides of the ball. Harrison’s a well-coached team and played a really physical game. They decided to take away our running by putting an extra man in the box. Even so, maybe we had too much for them.”

Declan Lavelle and the offense gained a whopping 537 yards on the afternoon, with the quarterback’s 23-for-32 passing racking up 377 yards in the air. Garr was asked about him.

“Declan’s a pleasure to watch. Even the mistakes he makes, they seem to slide right off him. He’s got Teflon for skin.”

With The Game in their rear-view mirror, the Garnets will have to regroup after a short week when they host Yonkers’ Lincoln High tonight at 7 p.m. Then it’s on to the playoffs.

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Rye High Boys’ Soccer

By Mitch Silver

If you like the way the Rye-Harrison football game went, you’ll probably like this soccer story. In what seemed like a replay of The Game on the same McGillicuddy Field 48 hours later, the (lower-case) game of Boys’ Soccer saw Harrison score easily in the first three minutes of play. And then, just like the football game, Rye scored five times without yielding another point to stun the Huskies.

This, mind you, was a Harrison team that beat the Garnets by 4-1 when they played at Rye September 13. So what made the difference?

“The boys’ frame of mind,” jubilant Head Coach Ernest Harmon said afterwards. “You have to be in the right frame of mind to play this game, and we were today.”

It helped that Rye had its injured players back, especially goalkeeper Kai Haesslein, who’d missed the previous two contests. It also helped that center midfielder and co-captain Carl Friedrich controlled play in midfield, co-captain Alec Jautz commanded the defense, and forward Kevin Abbondanza alertly made the most of his first-half scoring opportunities.

Fifteen minutes after Rye fell behind, Richard Savage tried a cross from the left corner. It deflected off a defender and Abbondanza flicked it in with a knee-high right-footed volley past the keeper.

Seven minutes later, Friedrich sent in a free kick that Harrison’s keeper had and dropped. Abbondanza was Kevin-on-the-Spot, and it was 2-1 Rye.

Fourteen minutes into the second half, Friedrich blasted a free kick in from just outside the penalty box. When the refs called the play back because they hadn’t blown a whistle (or some such thing), Jake Creus calmly stepped up and scored again, this time into the lower right corner.

Jautz sent Creus in on goal with a beautiful pass six minutes later. The Jakester placed a nifty lob over the oncoming goalie’s head to make it 4-1. And then, with two minutes and change left on the clock, the Garnets crossed the ball in two passes from left midfield to the right wing, where Friedrich snapped it up. A deft fake sent him past the defender to the end line. And then, when no one came out to challenge him and his fellow Garnets were jamming the box, the senior put a low shot to the keeper’s right and into the far corner of the goal.

After beating a game Ardsley team by 4-0 September 27, Harmon’s crew is finally on a roll. They met Pelham in a match post-press time, and travel up to Nanuet tomorrow for a game at 3 p.m.

Garnet keeper Kai Haesslein goes high to snare one, with Alec Jautz by his side.

Carl Friedrich played his usual physical game.

RHS Girls’ Soccer

By Melanie Cane

In a very physical game against Yorktown, the Garnet Girls stayed focused on the ball, which was how the Class A League III C team shut out the Class AA team 3-0 at home October 2. It was a big win for Rye as Yorktown has beaten them the past several years. The Garnets are now 8-1-1 and undefeated in their league.

Both teams played with a high level of intensity throughout the first half. The Huskers got off the first shot, a rocket line drive from the right side. Rye goalie Hannah Friedrich diverted the ball by jumping and redirecting it with her fingertips. At 15:42 Rye had a great opportunity. Claudia Raffa passed to Meredith Tutun who was in front of the net and shot it just over the center of the net. A minute later, Sarah DeGraw’s shot hit the inside of the post. Isabelle Castro then launched one, which Yorktown goalie Olivia DeCicco caught. Leah Kenney shot one over the goal and DeGraw kicked a line drive which DeCicco caught. Finally, at 4:46, DeGraw in-bounded the ball to Hannah Mullaly who passed back to DeGraw. DeGraw shot the ball and Mullaly deflected it in for her first goal of the season.

With a tenuous 1-0 Garnet lead, the Huskers blasted one off a breakaway with under two minutes left. Friedrich made a sliding, diving stop to preserve the lead. This was the key play of the game.

In the second half, the Garnets outplayed the Huskers. Yorktown’s goalie saved a penalty kick by Mullaly at 19:26. But two minutes later, DeGraw stole the ball off the transition, drove down the left side of the field and scored on a diagonal shot past the goalie. After several more close shots an alert Anna O’Keefe scored on a loose ball in front of the net. All in all, the Garnets took 12 shots to the Huskers’ three. Towards the end of the game Yorktown was clearly fatigued, while the Garnets were full of energy. Coach Rich Savage attributes it to the fact that they “sub more frequently and outwork other teams.”

He had high praise for the girls’ “outstanding” defense. “We played with composure and were able to move the ball in nice threes throughout the game.” He pointed to the fine efforts of keeper Hannah Friedrich who had lots of assistance from Lilly Friedrich, Molly Broderick, Katie Sack, and Leah Kenny. “Sarah DeGraw and Meredith Tutun were also vital to the victory,” he added.

Goalie Friedrich said of her key saves, “Of course they felt amazing, but more importantly it assured everyone that the defense and I have one another’s backs.”

The Garnets have two difficult away games ahead of them: Byram Hills on October 4, post-press time and Harrison October 7.


Anna O’Keefe on her way to scoring

Leah Kenney with the steal


Rye Country Day Field Hockey

By Melanie Cane

The undefeated Wildcats recorded their sixth consecutive win September 28 by defeating Greens Farms Academy 5-1.

The Dragons won the opening faceoff and maintained possession for the first few minutes of the game. Their strategy to move the ball was to make high passes over the heads of their opponents, but the Wildcats adjusted to their style of play quickly.

On their first possession, Wildcat Gemma Green scored on a corner penalty pass from Natalie Sanchez at 23:43. Two minutes later, Greens Farms scored on their third shot after a corner penalty. Rye goalie Sabrina Reznik had two great saves prior to the goal.

For the next four minutes the teams traded steals midfield. Then the Wildcats had four consecutive corners which they failed to convert. At 14:16, Green tipped the ball into the right side of the net on a pass from Sanchez. Five minutes later, Evalise Melgar got the ball off the transition and took it downfield where she passed to Green who shot across the goal, and Amelia Lower tipped it in.

Greens Farms called a timeout and came back playing more aggressively. They had a great shot off a corner, but Resnik made a fantastic save. Rye took a 3-1 lead into halftime.

Early in the second half, Kaela Smith passed to Green in front of the goal. Then Green passed back to Smith who scored by blooping the ball over the goalie's arms. Most of the rest of the half consisted of a lot of long passes to no one, and a slew of pass interferences for both teams in the midfield.

In the final minutes of the game, Olivia Friedberg moved the ball down the left side of the field and passed to her twin sister Elizabeth who shot and Green tipped it in for Rye Country Day’s fifth and final goal.

Coach Georgette Summers was pleased with the team’s solid start, but said they have to be more consistent. “We need to play at a high level of intensity and connectivity 100 percent of the game. There were bright moments and learning moments. We made a good effort to shut down their top scorer and that really threw off GFA’s game plan.” Coach Summers thought Olivia Friedberg, Paulina Harasimowicz, Elizabeth Friedberg and Gemma Green had excellent games.

The team will try for their seventh straight win on October 4, post-press time at Hamden Hall. They play Masters at home October 6.



Gemma Green chasing the ball.

Kaela Smith blocking a Greens Farms player.

Olivia Friedberg with a long pass



Rye Combined Girls’ Swimming & Diving

By Mitch Silver

Head Coach Shannon Bolger’s Rye-Rye Neck-Blind Brook combined team continued to swim past the rest of League Two when they defeated visiting Suffern last Friday by a score of 96-85.

Sweeping first and second places in the butterfly, backstroke, individual medley, and both 200-yard relays — medley and freestyle — along with a 1-2 sweep in diving kept Rye in first place after a heated meet in the Hommocks School pool, Rye’s home away from home.

Coach Melanie Dilascio’s Garnet divers, Katie Laverty and Devon Otto, took the top two positions against White Plains to open the season, and they did it again against the Mounties, posting scores of 238.15 and 217.40, respectively.

Blind Brook senior Marie Neubauer contributed to both relay golds and took second in the IM, while Rye Neck’s Grace Kujawski splashed to wins in the individual medley, the 100 butterfly, and the medley relay.

Coach Bolger’s crew tied White Plains 93-93 in the season’s opening meet before traveling up to Arlington and winning easily, 91-71. (How easily? Rye built a 91-33 lead before floating home for the victory.) “All the teams we’ve competed against have been strong competitors,” she said afterwards. “It’s been a great start to the season.”

The team journeyed to John Jay-Cross River for a dual meet post-press time. They’ll head over to Ardsley for another splash-a-thon this Tuesday.