Rye High Boys’ Soccer
Garnets Fall to Pearl River on Penalty Kicks in Class A Semis
by Mitch Silver
The Rye High soccer team played a 1-1 tie Wednesday at Pearl River, scoring first in the 62nd minute on a Kevin Abbondanza shot before giving up a goal two minutes later on a 45-yard free kick aided by sun. The Garnets had a number of golden opportunities to put the winner in during the final 10 minutes and throughout the first overtime but didn’t finish, despite a significant edge in shots. They lost on penalty kicks, finishing the season at 13-6-1.
How far have the Rye Garnets come in 2018? Here was the pre-season Class A Top-10 chosen by the Journal News two months ago: Somers, Yorktown, Tappan Zee, Byram Hills, Nyack, Horace Greeley, Pearl River, Beacon, Keio, and Lakeland. Conspicuous by its absence? Rye High School.
Head Coach Jared Small’s ninth-ranked squad of upstarts put a hurt on #17 Sleepy Hollow Monday by a 5-1 score. Kevin Abbondanza finished with two goals and an assist for the Garnets, who have now outscored three playoff opponents 18-2. Ata Arslan, Johnny Cronin, and Jake Creus also scored for Rye and Jonathan Mehrara handed out a pair of assists.
The win is even more impressive when you consider this is the same Sleepy team that beat the Garnets 1-0 in the first week of the regular season.
After the game, Head Coach Jared Small looked back on the game and the season. “Last night we finished on set pieces with incredible precision and we maintained a level of intensity that this group had not yet developed back in early September. Sleepy Hollow was vastly improved since we played them the first time. It’s a great indicator of our progress.”
He went on to say, “Johnny Cronin has been in tremendous form over the past three weeks, with nearly all of his goals and assists (five of each) coming at crucial moments in tight matches. He got the game winner in the final ten minutes in both of our 2-1 regular-season wins over Pelham. And he scored the tying goal against Byram.
“We had Pep van Beurden—who is consistently one of the most vocal and supportive teammates when not on the field—play 57 minutes and register three assists in the opening-round playoff win over Gorton when both of our starting forwards were injured. It was no accident that he wore the captain’s arm band for the final minutes of the Sleepy match…he earned that recognition.”
After their thunderous 7-0 win over Gorton, which technically was an outbracket game, and a 6-1 first-round defeat of Lakeland, the Garnets’ made their first semifinal appearance since the three in row from 2006 to 2008. Fun fact: With 27 teams competing in the Class A tourney, this is the first Garnet team to win three playoff rounds since they did it 35 years ago.
Aidan Anderson takes one for the team.
Sophomore Nic Logan follows the shot all the way.