Panther juniors Corinne Collado (6) and Maura Gabriele (12) block another one.
Rye/Rye Neck Volleyball
Visiting Panthers Out Claw Garnets 3-0
BY MITCH SILVER
First-year Head Coach Allison Reynolds brought her title-contending Panthers to the home of the unranked Rye Garnets October 7 for a late-season matchup between crosstown rivals. While Rye Neck looked to use the match as a measuring stick in advance of the Class C playoffs, Garnet mentor Geri Jones hoped her team would rebound from recent losses to Byram Hills and Eastchester and regain the form that helped them shut out the Harrison Huskies two weeks ago.
In the end, both coaches seemed satisfied with the hard-fought 3-0 victory by the Panthers. The first words Coach Jones uttered after the match were, “We played well. Yes, we had a lot of unforced errors, but our mistakes are correctable.”
The first set was a see-saw affair. After falling behind 4-2, the Garnets rallied behind the serving of junior Alex Rosales to win seven straight points. Rye Neck evened the score at 11-all, thanks to superior blocking up front by the tandem of Kyera Hutt and Maura Gabriele.
The teams were tied at 13-all, 14-all, 15-all, 16-all, and 17-all before the visitors went on a five-point run. The score was 24-20 in favor of Rye Neck when the Garnets’ Mara Ball attempted a tough midcourt kill that fell into the net.
Rye High edged ahead in the second set 15-12, on the strength of some exceptional digging. Then, riding a string of unhittable serves by rangy junior Alexa Guedez, Rye Neck surged to a 19-16 lead. The home team came right back to make it 19-all. It was 23-22 for the Panthers when the senior libero took charge and closed out the set on her serve.
A month earlier, Rye Neck — with only three seniors on the roster — had walked away with the championship of the Garnets’ own tourney, beating the host team in the final game. So, it wasn’t a complete surprise that the Panthers would add to an already impressive skein that’s seen them win 50 sets while dropping only eight on the season.
Led in part by Guedez’s terrific serving, Coach Reynolds’ squad raced out to a 10-2 lead in the final game and never looked back. The final score of 25-13 earned the team its 17th victory in 19 games. The Panthers traveled to Edgemont Thursday before returning home to take on another big rival, Blind Brook, October 11 at 6.
The Garnets met Pelham post-press time before traveling to Harrison for a clash with the Huskies Tuesday the 15th at 6.