In the section quarterfinals, Oct. 24 at Nugent Stadium, the Rye Girls’ Soccer team, through equally stellar offense and defense, dominated John Jay Cross River and came away with a 3-0 victory.
Both teams played with intensity, keeping the game to a 1-0 Rye lead until late in the second half. Led by senior midfielder Brooke Habinowski, John Jay threatened, but outside backs, senior captain Sage Ruttenberg and junior Allison Koford, kept their opponents away from the box. Rye midfielder Bowyn Brown dominated the ball in the air with multiple contested headers, and senior Maddy Walsh controlled the midfield.
Junior Reese Lejuez scored Rye’s first goal. Ruttenberg kept the ball in play off a deflected corner with a pass to Lejuez, who used her foot skills to set the ball in position, finishing with a decisive strike outside the box into the far-left corner.
The Wolves defense worked tirelessly to defend the Garnets multiple tries. Goalkeepers Mia Bouria and Brooke Epstein kept the Wolves in the running; but late in the second half, with seven minutes remaining in play, Rye broke free to score its second goal. Freshman Charlotte Keenan sped down the right sideline to beat two John Jay defenders, feeding the ball to Isabel Harvey, who hit a one-touch shot into the goal.
The third and final goal of the match came from Lyla Keenan. On a free kick near the right corner, Keenan, the lefty midfielder, shot the ball, which curved magically into the back corner of the net.
Goalkeeper Tessa Labovitz secured another shutout victory, while senior Mali White provided Rye with multiple crosses into the center of the field. In addition, at a critical point in the match, John Jay had an opportunity to get back in the game with a free kick, but Keenan and Mary Sack blocked the shot.
After the game, Rich Savage, coach of the 17-2 Garnets, said, “The success of our team is built on the entire team. We have lots of great players, but each player is just as important as another on and off the field. That shows when the bench is supporting the field players, and the field players are supporting the bench. I think we have a lot of talented players that can slip into different spots, which makes us a real dangerous team.”
Senior captain Harvey added, “Mr. Savage is a great coach; he has prioritized team chemistry, which is why we have been so successful. We love each other, and we leave everything out on the field. We don’t want to have our last game with our best friends, so we keep working to keep the season alive.”
The Garnets are set to play in the semifinals, at home on Oct. 26, post-press time.
– Photos by Aileen Brown