The Rye Country Day Boys’ lacrosse team entered the New York State Association of Independent Schools tournament with an 11-3 record, marred in part by a 12-7 loss to two-time defending champion Hackley in their league season finale.
By Mitch Silver
The Rye Country Day Boys’ lacrosse team entered the New York State Association of Independent Schools tournament with an 11-3 record, marred in part by a 12-7 loss to two-time defending champion Hackley in their league season finale. Could they win their way back to the championship game and face their nemesis one more time for all the marbles?
The answer was a resounding yes. Eschewing the Fairchester Athletic Association tournament — they were FAA kings of the regular season — for the tougher competition in New York, the Wildcats raced past Riverdale in the first round May 17, holding them to just three goals in an 11-3 rout. With attackmen Dylan Bass, Justin Weissman, and Riley van den Broek peppering Riverdale’s cage with 18 shots, and middie Tyler Miller winging in another five, the playing field seemed to have a decided tilt.
The semifinals two days later were nearly as easy, with the Grandview Avenue Boys putting Poly Prep to the sword, 15-5. Coach Matt Rosolen said, “We passed up the FAA tournament because we were hoping for a rematch with Hackley. Well, now we’ve got it.”
Manhattanville College was the setting when the two teams met to settle things May 21. After a scoreless opening six minutes, Hackley drew first blood, whipping a low shot past standout Wildcats senior goalie Michael Farber with 5:29 left in the quarter. A faceoff win led to a second Hackley score 19 seconds later on a neat cut and shot moving away from the cage. Sophomore Justin Weissman got one back a minute later with a backside cut and jam shot. The quarter ended that way, 2-1.
Thirty seconds into the second period, Country Day was swarming on attack when Hornets captain James Firpo stuck out a long pole, intercepted a pass, and bounced one in at the other end. The Wildcats countered. They had a hard time moving up the field, but then a bang-bang play made it 3-2.
Back and forth the game went. Hackley zipped the ball around to Farber’s right before a quick shot from the slot made it a two-goal margin once more. The Wildcats got that one back 52 seconds later with a bouncer from in front. Then five scoreless, nailbiting minutes passed before sophomore Kyle Halloran scored close in at 0:57 during a man advantage.
That’s when things got crazy. One ref called a loose ball for the Wildcats while the others gave it to the Hornets. Coach Rosolen was out on the field disputing the call while Hackley was busy putting the ball in the net. The zebras conferred after the play, but they let the goal stand. It looked like the Wildcats would enter halftime down 5-4.
Not so fast! Attackman Weissman took a pass and ripped one into the goal with one second remaining. Justice, for the moment, was served.
The second half was a scoreless defensive struggle for most of the third quarter. A Hackley long stick put one past Farber with 1:52 left, answered quickly by senior Widcats’ co-Captain Dylan Bass with a half a minute left.
Rye Country Day finally got their noses in front for the only time in the game when fellow senior captain Tyler Miller executed a nice spinorama for a score with 8:31 remaining. But Hackley tied it on a jump shot at 6:26, took the faceoff cleanly and scored again eight seconds later. Thirty-eight seconds later, a rare missed assignment left a Hackley short stick free for their third goal in a minute.
It stayed 9-7 as the clock wound down until Rye, after nearly losing the ball at the restraining line, broke free for a two-on-one in front of the cage. Then, with the Wildcats in a ten-man ride, Hackley’s junior attacker Sam Welch netted an underhand sling shot for a 10-8 lead.
But the Wildcats weren’t through. With less than 30 seconds remaining in the game, Tyler Miller wound up from the left of the keeper and whipped one in, making it 10-9.
Hackley won the faceoff, but lost the ball on a delay of game call. Miller had the ball on his stick with ten seconds to go when a poke check knocked the ball, and the championship trophy, out of his hands.
Afterwards, Hackley captain Damis Yancopoulos admitted, “This is the hardest we’ve ever had to work.” All Coach Rosolen would say is, “They made one more play than we did.”