TENNIS: Coach Tony Campbell has created the largest team — 19 in Varsity and JV — in school history.
Coach Tony Campbell has created the largest team — 19 in Varsity and JV — in school history. In addition to senior Co-Captains Dana McLaughlin, Willa O’Connor, and Alex Manning, ten players returned to Varsity. Of the six newcomers, three are impressive freshmen: Laura Jarmillo, Stephanie Rodilosso, and Niki Francis. Junior Maggie Tolley will continue her reign at first singles and Manning will hold onto the second singles position. In addition to the three captains, the other player to watch is junior Ella Girling.
Coach Campbell and the captains expect to improve their record from last season because the top singles players are returning and they have more depth in doubles this year. Campbell, who also coaches Girls’ Squash, is most looking forward to “Another year of Rye girls being gracious competitors.”
In their season opener, September 8, the Garnets were gracious in defeat, losing 7-0 to Harrison.
The season has barely begun, but the team has already experienced its share of ups and downs. Veteran coach Emily Fitzgerald stepped down after having a baby. The Garnets’ new coach, Emily Townsend Prince, had a baby during pre-season, so JV coach Lisa Marie DiRusso ran a few practices. But the real drama happened moments before their September 4 home opener against Suffern. The Section 1 eligibility committee handed down a decision barring Sean Walsh and Phile Govaert, the two boys on the team, from playing or practicing with the team. Both boys played in the field hockey program last year and both made the varsity squad after being cleared by RHS’s review panel. The boys, the team, and Coach Prince are all very disappointed with the ruling.
Coach Prince is a three-time Princeton All-American and Junior National player who has spent the last decade coaching in and around Greenwich. She describes having 12 seniors on the team as “a dream come true. They are all so mature and responsible. I am very lucky.” Three of these seniors are midfielder Co-Captains Abby Abate, Mallory Lynch, and Laura Martinelli, who are focusing on making it to the state championship.
One of the three newcomers is senior Ali Howard, who plays on the Boys’ Ice Hockey team, but only started playing field hockey a few months ago. Coach Prince said Howard, who will be goalkeeper, is so good it is “uncanny.”
The Garnets beat Suffern 4-0 in their first home game, September 4. Last year, they edged Suffern 3-2. Coach Prince was very happy with how well the team played. “We dominated and moved the ball well. Ali, who made four great saves in goal, did a great job staying focused and making the save when it mattered.”
Coach Prince is looking forward to helping them reach their full potential. She said, “Emily Fitzgerald left me in good hands. The team is determined to work hard and do better every day.”
They topped Ursuline 3-0 away on September 8. The Garnets head to Nyack for their next matchup, September 12.
This year’s volleyball program is a veritable sister act. The new assistant Varsity coach, Rachel Poccia, is the younger sister of the new JV coach, Erica Poccia. New varsity head coach Geri Jones coached both Rachel and Erica at Mamaroneck High School. Sisters Ali and Serene Imam are on Varsity; and Varsity players Katherine Coleman and Kylie Roddy both have sisters on JV.
According to senior Co-Captains Ali Imam and Lilly McGinty, having a new coach has brought new energy and enthusiasm to the program. The Garnets beat Riverside 3-0 in their home opener September 1 and qualified for the Sleepy Hollow tournament September 5. They beat Keio in the first round and came close to beating top-seeded Nyack in the semifinals.
Coach Jones said it was a very successful tournament for the girls. “We started out slow, but picked it up to qualify for playoffs, finishing second in our pool. The team performed very well, executing our offense well, and playing excellent defense. All- around great playing.”
Their league home opener is against Eastchester on September 11.
Anticipating their first game, a non-league home opener against Yonkers on September 4, Coach Rich Savage had no idea what to expect. What he got in the Garnets’ 8-3 victory, gave him optimism about the upcoming season, because seven different players scored the eight goals.
The Garnets dominated the game so much that in the second half, all four senior captains — Maddy Eck, Maddy Kenny, Izzie Hentschel, and Lexi Brunner — sat on the bench. The captains liked what they saw from their teammates. “The girls are communicating well and covering the gaps.” Eck’s bench time gave backup goalie Hannah Friedrich a chance to cut her teeth in a game and she did really well.
The 12 returning players are joined by 13 new ones. The team has great depth with many girls able to play the same position. Eck said she is “looking forward to seeing the team reach its potential. We are young, but once we all begin to feel comfortable playing together, I think we’ll be able to do a lot of great things and be one of the best teams in our league.”
The underclassmen to watch are midfield freshman Sara DeGraw, sophomore Isabel Castro who is excellent at distributing the ball, sophomore midfielder Amanda Engels, and sophomore Lily Friedrich on defense. Seniors Hentschel and Kenny are strong senior leaders on the field and Eck is a top-notch goalie.
On September 8, the Garnets tied Tappan Zee 3-3 in overtime. They play their first league game at Pelham September 17.