By Mitch Silver
Hackley and Rye Country Day have dominated the New York State Association of Independent Schools lacrosse standings for more than a decade, and they met again under cloudy skies in Rye April 25. First-year Head Coach Brian O’Callaghan sent out his Wildcats 72 hours after beating Riverdale 8-3.
The veteran Hornets, though, were a much tougher proposition. Dominating play early, the visitors took a 4-0 lead after nine minutes of play, with Attackman Cliff Chapman netting three of them. Sophomore Alec Davis got one back for the locals at 1:45 of the first period with a left-handed jump shot.
The Wildcats’ attack, featuring only one senior, looked much more cohesive in the second quarter. Junior Braden Bass scored with less than two minutes gone, assisted by sophomore Ben Cousin.
The home team tied the game at 4-4 with two goals in rapid succession five minutes in. First, eighth grader Milin Torgalter whipped in an unassisted shot over the goalie’s left shoulder. Twenty seconds later, Davis scored his second, also unassisted.
That was the high-water mark for the Wildcats on the afternoon. Chapman set up Ryan Thomson for a man-up goal at 6:24, then Thomson scored another man-up goal with 3:44 showing on the clock. The teams went into halftime that way, with Hackley up 6-4.
The third quarter saw the Hornets score three times, sandwiched around a third Alec Davis goal when a penalty was about to be called.
The final quarter was all Hackley, which scored five times against a single Rye Country Day goal by junior Jack Oehler with less than three minutes to play.
Afterwards, Coach O’Callaghan, a 17-year veteran in the Wildcats’ coaching ranks, chose to see the glass half-full. He told the team, “Things didn’t go the way we wanted today, but we’re making progress.” Asked whether his offense was coming together, he replied, “Yes, I think so. A lot of these players missed seasons due to Covid, and we’re just getting everyone on the same page.”