Holy Child Soccer
Gryphons Find Their Groove
By Melanie Cane
After getting off to a slow start, the young Gryphon Soccer team came back to beat the veteran Kingswood Oxford team, 3-2, at home September 15.
“The Wyverns scored first and that lit a fire under our feet,” said Giulia DeVita, senior co-captain and goalie, after the game.
In the first six minutes of the game, Kingswood took a few shots from center, which DeVita saved. Play shifted to midfield before the Gryphons moved the ball to their goal on several passes. They took their first shot from 18 at 30:20. Wyvern goalie Jillian Wells ran out of the goal to make the save.
The possessions started to even out and Gryphon Sofia Smith got a corner kick at 23:00, which went just behind the goal. A minute later, Pieper Winogradoft shot a rocket from center midfield on a free kick, which Wells saved, followed by Kingswood’s great shot off the clear, which DeVita saved.
Co-captain Emma Kryza kicked a long pass off transition to move the ball upfield and Nicole Miller went one-on one to the goal where she was fouled. Sophia Kryza, also s senior co-captain, launched a perfect corner shot to goal, but Wells saved it. She got another chance a few minutes later and passed to Alice Zarkowski who shot just wide. Then Sophia Kryza nailed one.
On Kingswood’s next possession, they got a great shot off a corner kick. DeVita jumped up to save it and it went off her fingertips. The Wyverns tipped the ball into the back of the net for the first goal of the game at 12:40. They stole the ball off the clear and took another great shot. DeVita made a phenomenal jumping save. Winogradoft stole the ball off an in-pass and drove up field on a one-on-one and was fouled. She took a free kick from the top of the circle which Wells saved. Sophia Kryza stole the ball at midfield and took a long shot. Wells rushed the ball and Zarkowski beat her to it and found the back of the net to tie the game.
Then Miller stole the ball at Kingswood’s goal and went one-on-one all the way up the field. Kingswood kicked it out on the left sideline and Miller shot off the throw in, but Wells made another great save.
The Wyverns got off two more shots, both of which DeVita saved. In the last minute of the half, Miller dribbled past her opponents and found the back of the net from the post with a few seconds left on the clock to give Holy Child a 2-1 lead.
The Gryphons continued where they left off at halftime, taking three great shots in the first five minutes. The first one was on a corner kick. Gabby Cristiano then shot a lob in front of the goal and Smith headed the ball off the bounce just over the goal.
At 33:35, Kingswood scored off a fast break when DeVita went out of the goal, dove to make a stop, and Kingswood slammed one past her.
With the game knotted at two, the Gryphons regrouped and began passing more and dropping back faster. Coach Michael Rivera observed, “The girls did a great job of stretching their defense by utilizing our outside players to create space in the middle and passing lanes behind defense.”
At 14:01, Emma Kryza shot a perfect diagonal pass to her twin sister Sophia who headed it into the back of the net.
The teams played evenly and with great intensity for the rest of the half but neither team scored.
Coach Rivera praised his young team for “quickly stepping up to the plate to make us competitive.
Gryphons defenders protecting the goal
Staunch defender Alice Zarkowski
Sophia Kryza challenging her Kingswood opponent
Nicole Miller going one-on-one