The last time the Wildcats team went to the NYSAIS finals, in 2011, Riverdale won the title.
By Melanie Cane
The last time the Wildcats team went to the NYSAIS finals, in 2011, Riverdale won the title. But on November 2, 2014, the No. 3 Wildcats beat the No. 1 Falcons in a nearly three-hour-long nail-biter amidst gale-force winds and frosty temperatures that, after scoreless double overtimes, came down to penalty kicks. The Wildcats won 7-6 on a penalty kick by defender Liz Mastolini. This was the first time Rye Country Day’s Girls’ soccer team has captured the NYSAIS championship.
Riverdale dominated possession for the better part of the half. That being said, The Wildcats had two great scoring opportunities but were unable to convert. Taylor Regan had a perfect shot from 20 yards, but Riverdale’s keeper, who is over 6 feet tall, made a spectacular save. The next missed opportunity came when Sophie Brown crossed to Charlotte Boehning, who kicked the ball over the goal from 12 yards back. Wildcat defenders Julia Massaro, Sarah Brodwolf, Maddie Zuber, and Mastolini, and keeper Francesca Ventura did a phenomenal job keeping the game scoreless.
In the second half, the Falcons scored on a miscommunication, taking a tenuous 1-0 lead. Coach Alin Andrei said Riverdale’s goal shocked his girls into realizing, “It was time to go out there and give it their all.” And they did. With twenty minutes left in the game, Regan tied the score with an impressive 22-yard free kick. Her goal seemed to energize the team. After a few more missed scoring opportunities, and with only two minutes left in the game, Regan had another great chance, but Riverdale’s keeper robbed her once again.
The game ended in regulation with a 1-1 tie. Neither team scored during two 10-minute overtimes and two five-minute sudden death overtimes. In a continuation of the high drama, four of the first five kickers on both teams scored, making it a 5-5 tie. And it was getting dark.
Mastolini’s game-winning goal, a low shot that got past the Falcon’s diving keeper, came in the second set of penalty kicks.
Coach Andrei was beside himself with joy for the team, especially the seniors.
Senior captain Massaro said, “It’s extremely gratifying for the seniors, particularly since the Falcons beat us our freshman year in the NYSAIS final, to end our high school playing careers with the championship. It would not have been possible without the coaches and everyone on the team doing their part.”