Even though the match-up between B League Rye High School and A League Mamaroneck High School on October 19 was a non-league game, the face-off between these two titans had a lot riding on it.
By Melanie Cane
Even though the match-up between B League Rye High School and A League Mamaroneck High School on October 19 was a non-league game, the face-off between these two titans had a lot riding on it. Rye’s perfect record was at stake and Mamaroneck’s reputation (their only loss this season was to six-time state champ Lakeland) was on the line.
The game brought all the breath-holding action and excitement it promised, ending in a scoreless tie.
Both teams hit the ground running, playing as if it were a State championship game. The Tigers started both halves strong, but the Garnets quickly applied pressure, interfering with and blocking passes, flick passing, and dribbling the ball down field. Rye compelled Mamaroneck to call a timeout 10 minutes into the first half. Shortly after, the Tigers missed a corner shot and the Garnets stole the ball.
The game was characterized by outstanding defense. Garnet goalie Ali Howard had four saves, one of which was a diving save on a corner midway through the second half. This was one of four successive corner shots the Tigers were awarded in as many minutes. They also had a lot of circle entries, but their shots went wide and outside. Howard credited her defensive core, the sister act of Anne and Lotje Rogaar, “for taking the weight off my shoulders. They alternated going to midfield and staying back and made great outlet passes.”
The Garnets’ top scorer, Fusine Govaert, was stymied by the Tigers’ defenders, who double- and triple-teamed her. Her best attempt at scoring came off a corner shot near the end of the game that flew over the crossbar. Rye had a total of eight corners, including one at the end of each half.
Senior co-Captain Mallory Lynch summed the game up this way. “Mamaroneck was definitely our hardest competition all season. I’ve never seen our defense and Ali play as well as they did tonight.
Our defensive corners were great and Ali had some really good clears.” As far as the scoring front, Lynch said, “We expended so much energy on defense that when we finally got in the circle we had a hard time finishing. We’re going to need to work on our corners and shots on goal before playoffs, but I think we are looking really good and I can’t wait to see where we end up.”
Govaert added, “I don’t think we expected to beat Mamaroneck, but this tie felt like a win. We are still undefeated which may even be the most exciting part.”
Playoffs begin October 26.