The Byram Hills Bobcats put an end to the Rye High Boys’ Soccer team’s playoff run on October 28, when they defeated the Garnets 2-0 at Lakeland High School.
The Garnets controlled much of the play, despite several critical players battling injuries. But the Bobcats’ backline proved hard to beat, and the team scored on a quick counterattack with 15 minutes remaining. They then netted an insurance goal with 11 minutes to play.
The Bobcats pressed Rye for the first few minutes of the match and forced goalkeeper Max Crothall, who ended the game with five saves, to handle several tricky attacks. Senior Niklas Hoffman and junior Jack Gilroy were critical as Rye soon settled into the match. Seniors Kieran Traynor and Shun Nagata won first ball and controlled the midfield. Tyler Triolo seemed to be everywhere, intercepting passes, dispossessing dribblers all over the pitch, and contributing menacing long throws to keep the pressure on the Bobcat backline.
One of the critical moments of the game came with 15 minutes left in the first half, when Lex Cox was submarined by a Byram player and left the game injured. Rye had to play the rest of the match without their outstanding sophomore defender. Byram’s striker earned a yellow card, but the Bobcats got the better of the trade.
In the waning moments of the first half, Rye appeared to take the lead, with Charlie Margiloff making a chipped pass over the top that was played back by Tommy Broderick and headed in by sophomore Alex Rojas. But the sideline referee ruled the ball out of play for a Byram goal kick.
For much of the second half, Rye had the upper hand, pressuring the Byram defense, but never seriously testing Byram goalie Gavin Nicols, who was credited with three saves. The game changed quickly with 15 minutes to play. A threatening Rye free kick was cleared, and a quick counterattack ensued. Rye was dispossessed in midfield and the ball was played to Bobby Gillespie, who slotted a shot into the corner of the net. Three minutes later, Chris Amenado followed with another goal, and the Bobcats were crowned Section Champs shortly thereafter.
Rye had earned the spot in the final by defeating the Nyack Red Hawks 4-1 on October 24. On a beautiful night at Nugent Field, Rye pressured Nyack from the opening kick. After several Rye goal-scoring opportunities were denied in the first 20 minutes, captain Ollie Lincoln served a dangerous corner kick in the goal area that found Traynor, who outjumped his defender and headed the ball toward the top corner of the net. Rather than concede the goal, a Nyack defender extended his arm, saving the goal but earning a deserved red card and a penalty shot for Rye. Two-time league MVP Tommy Broderick drilled the shot home, putting the Garnets on top 1-0.
Nyack struggled to hold onto the ball, and Rye was able to dictate the game. Starting the second half up 1-0, Rye quickly added to their lead. Kaden Zion, always dangerous on the dribble, drove at the Red Hawks’ defense and found Margiloff streaking into space behind. Margiloff coolly beat the Nyack goalie to make it 2-0, for his tenth goal of the season.
Shortly thereafter, Traynor beat his defender and was fouled just outside the penalty area, setting up a Lincoln free kick that went over the wall and into the top right corner to make the score 3-0. It was Lincoln’s first career goal. Nyack answered with a quick counterattack goal before the game was put out of reach by Broderick, when freshman Peter Wilmot won a ball at midfield and created a breakaway for the senior captain’s 15th goal of the season.
Rye finished the season 13-4-1, earned the No. 2 seed in Class A, and won its first trip to the Section Finals since 2019. Although some crucial playmakers will graduate, including the last of the Traynor soccer dynasty, Rye will have many important contributors returning.