Goal scorer Sonia Finkenberg has a lethal stroke.
Rye Neck Field Hockey
Panthers Tie Nanuet to Open the Season
By Mitch Silver
Not many field hockey teams can claim they have a Finkenberg at each end of the field of play. Rye Neck High can. And, thanks in large part to Sonia and Klara, the Panthers opened their 2019 account with a hard-earned 1-1 tie against the non-league visitors from Nanuet.
It’s a revamped Rye Neck team this season, starting with the coaching staff. Nichole Locher returns to her Westchester roots after teaching and coaching for several years at a Manhattan private school. A lacrosse and field hockey star at Yorktown High School, Locher shares coaching duties with Darien Bica, who also went to high school in Westchester. He was an All-State linebacker at Dobbs Ferry and a long-stick middie for the Manhattan College Jaspers. He’s moved up from assistant coach to form “a powerhouse coaching team,” to quote Coach Locher.
Sliding into the goaltender’s pads is the aforementioned ninth grader, Klara Finkenberg. She was spectacular Saturday morning, making 10 stops, many with her feet. Her presence has allowed last year’s keeper, junior Natalie Sutter, to play in the field, strengthening the Panthers’ defense.
At the other end of the pitch, Klara’s older sister Sonia, a senior, scored with six minutes left in the first half from a scrum after a corner. Julia DeLitta had the assist. After the game, DeLitta, who took an errant stick to the throat during the game, was chosen the team’s player of the week.
It was a slightly odd game in that both goals were scored against the run of play. The Golden Knights dominated possession for much of the first half, while Rye Neck had the upper hand for the first 20 minutes of the second. Nevertheless, Meredith Lee found the twine for the Knights at the 16:39 mark.
After that, Nanuet applied increasing pressure, earning corner after corner in the last five minutes. Among the heroines who kept the ball out of the net was Abby Victory, a ninth grader playing her first varsity game. She joins her sister Katie, a junior, on the squad.
The Panthers travel to Croton-Harmon Monday before returning for a game Wednesday against Pleasantville and their league opener with Irvington at home Friday afternoon.