Rye Country Day Boys’ Soccer
Wildcats Beat French-American School 3-1 for First Victory
By Mitch Silver
It can’t be easy to take the reins of a varsity soccer program the year after the team’s all-time leading scorer graduates. That’s the situation that faced Rye Country Day Head Coach Stanley Morris, who replaced departed coach Cristiano Pereira this summer with Cole Price off to college.
Not surprisingly, the Wildcats struggled to score in the early going. A pre-season scrimmage with defending NYSAIS champ Riverdale found the locals struggling to work the ball out of their own half. A 2-1 opening-day loss at St. Luke’s saw more of the same, though goalkeeper Mick Bronsky made several important stops.
The home opener September 15 against Masters was more promising, with Rye Country Day coming back from an early goal against to net two (by Troy Rigby and Brett Robinson) and lead late in the second half. The good work went for naught, though, when co-captain Lucca Piccinini was called for a red card with six minutes left in the game. Playing a man down, the Wildcats gave up three goals in rapid succession to fall 4-2.
Two days later, an improved team defense helped the Wildcats draw their game at Long Island Lutheran, 1-1. Then, a week ago, the Grandview Avenue boys met the French-American School of White Plains at SUNY-Purchase.
Before the contest, Coach Morris, a longtime fixture in the back line of the St. Vincent and Grenadines national team, reminded his team, “We must maintain our shape, know when to apply high-pressure, especially in and around our defensive third, and then spring a counter-attack. Individually, each player must be assertive, be able to improvise, exercise peripheral vision, and maintain focus.”
The Wildcats followed the coach’s directives with a vengeance. James Leake scored a goal in each half and freshman Devan Phelan chased down a through ball before cutting inside and unleashing a bullet to the far post. Mitch Babiarz and Troy Rigby used their pace to usher the French-American forwards away from goal. Co-captains Cole Boester and Piccinini, back from his red-card suspension, controlled the midfield. And Bronsky was spectacular…again…in goal.
The rejuvenated Wildcats traveled to Hamden Hall post-press time. They host Cheshire Academy today at 4:30 p.m. and Fieldston Monday at the same time.
Rye Country Day soccer co-captain Lucca Piccinini takes the ball off the foot of the Masters School player.
Brett Robinson (11) tries to head the ball behind him past the keeper.