Mia McGinty (center) gets the star treatment after her early goal.
Rye High Girls’ Soccer
Rye Drops Mamaroneck, 4-2, for 13th Victory
By Mitch Silver
The Rye Garnets entered their Monday face-off with neighboring Mamaroneck needing a good start to keep pace with Class A leaders Albertus Magnus and Pearl River in the race for top seed in the playoffs that start next week. What they got was a great start.
With less than two minutes having ticked off the Nugent Stadium scoreboard, senior midfielder Mia McGinty received the ball well outside the penalty box to the goalie’s left. She proceeded to send a rocket of a kick more than 40 yards on a beeline over the head of the Tigers’ junior keeper, Amanda Robinson.
A less resilient team might have folded then and there, but the Tigers came back in under 60 seconds to even the score. Senior Katherine Holton scored off a goalmouth scramble at the other end of the pitch. Fireworks on Columbus Day!
Rye Head Coach Rich Savage’s squad dominated possession for the rest of the half, with both senior Claudia Rafa and junior Caroline Stevens getting close-but-no-cigar looks at goal. Then came another one of those Garnet artillery shells. Senior Katie Sack kept the ball alive near her attacking end line before passing it to a teammate. She made her way outside the box, got the ball back, and launched a bomb that might have singed Robinson’s hair on the way into the old onion bag, to quote a TV commentator.
The Tigers were down, but they weren’t out. With 45 seconds to go till halftime, Rye All-League goalkeeper Olivia Dabinett had to come out to smother a semi-breakaway. It looked like Coach Savage would have to settle for a 2-1 lead.
Not the case. Junior midfielder Meredith Tutun, one of the fastest players on the Garnets, broke through and took a shot from the keeper’s left with less than five seconds on the clock. Her effort bounced off a defender and came right back. Her second time was the charm, giving Rye a two-goal edge with 1.1 seconds remaining in the half.
Scoring early and scoring late usually makes for a winning game, and Monday’s was no exception. But there were hiccups along the way. Though ranked number seven in Class AA, Mamaroneck played a strange, hit-and-hope style of play, kicking the ball as hard and as far as they could every time. Their Head Coach Ron Blain repeatedly gave only one exhortation to his troops from the sideline: “Go!”
As a result, Rye’s defense often had to turn on their heels and chase both the ball and the attackers back toward their own goal. It finally paid off for the visitors. With 12 minutes gone in the second half, a miskick from the back line gave Holton the ball in front of goal. She didn’t miss. Rye 3, Mamaroneck 2.
Holding a lead can be tricky for this Garnet team. After the game, Coach Savage acknowledged, “We could have played the ball on the ground a bit more. And we didn’t always have good spacing against their direct style of play. It’s a good thing we have Olivia back there in goal.”
The Tigers kept up the pressure, though stout defending allowed them only one other shot on goal for the rest of the game. Then, with 17:18 on the clock, junior midfielder Zoe Rockas had the ball along the attacking right wing. Somehow, she managed to launch Rye’s third missle of the game, sending a screaming ball over Robinson’s head into the far corner to make the final score 4-2.
As Mike Zacchio of the Journal News said this week, “Rye is the real deal, and it has been all season.” The Garnets next host Byram Hills under the lights Saturday at 7 p.m.