After winning their first Fairchester Athletic League title, the Rye Country Day Girls’ Lacrosse Team won another NYSAIS championship May 20, topping Hackley 12-9.
By Melanie Cane
After winning their first Fairchester Athletic League title, the Rye Country Day Girls’ Lacrosse Team won another NYSAIS championship May 20, topping Hackley 12-9. En route to completing their 18-0 season, the girls beat Greenwich Academy for the first time in over 30 years. Two weeks later, the Wildcats dethroned Greenwich, the longtime FAA champions. Coach Georgette Summers called that game “their biggest accomplishment.”
The Wildcats seemed unstoppable, but their confidence wavered as four starters, including senior co-captain Zoe Verni, went down to injury and illness. As champions do, they fought through adversity, knocking off Horace Mann and Poly Prep on the way to the final. Rye Country Day had beaten Hackley earlier in the season in a thrilling 16-15 overtime game and they toppled Hackley off their NYSAIS throne last year in a thrilling 11-10 double overtime win. Going into the championship game, the stage was set for excitement.
The first half of the game was more exciting for Hackley than the home team. The Hornets scored the first goal off a turnover at the 21:29 mark. A minute later, Taylor Regan found Emily Duarte in front, and tied the game. Then Hackley went on a three- goal run before Julia Massaro scored off a feed from Sam Kost. Regan followed with a free shot to make it a one-goal game. Hackley added one; Duarte answered. Four minutes later, Hackley scored again and Massaro struck back. At the end of the half, Hackley held a 6-5 lead.
In the second half, the Hornets again opened the scoring, but Regan answered. And after an unbelievable save by Wildcats’ goalie Charlotte Fleishman, Duarte scored on a free shot to knot the score at 7. Hackley scored, and then Kost buried a rebound off Duarte’s missed free shot. Charlotte Cooper scored off a free shot, giving Rye its first lead (9-8) of the matchup. Hackley tied it at the 9:32 mark.
Suddenly, as though a switch was flipped, the Wildcats took over. Emily Moran seemingly came out of nowhere to blast one off a pass from Massaro. Twelve seconds later, Massaro attacked the goal off a fast break, putting Rye Country Day up by two. Hackley’s goalie made a phenomenal save before Regan beat out her defender to score the final goal with just under five minutes left. With a comfortable three-goal lead, the Wildcats passed the ball around to run down the clock.
Massaro, Duarte, and Regan each had three goals. Goalie Fleishman notched seven saves.
Reflecting on the game, senior co-captain Massaro said, “At halftime we realized that while we hadn’t played up to our potential, we were only a goal behind. Our goalie was making huge saves keeping us in the game. We felt that we owed it to her, as well as each other, to come out with more energy. During the second half we found our rhythm and our confidence rose. The win was truly a team effort, a symbol of how we played all season.”
She added, “To go undefeated is still unbelievable to me. I’m lucky to be a part of it and finish off my Rye Country Day career with such an amazing group of girls.”