It was a typical game for the 2014 edition of the Rye Country Day Boys’ Soccer team: perfect defense, absent offense.
By Mitch Silver
It was a typical game for the 2014 edition of the Rye Country Day Boys’ Soccer team: perfect defense, absent offense. The Wildcats played their third scoreless draw of the season October 15 when they hosted a good Hopkins Grammar side, when they were riding a three-game winning streak.
Each team had an excellent chance to score. Midway through the first half, the visitors’ left wing was impeded when he tried to tee up a cross inside the box. The referee pointed immediately to the penalty spot, and senior Wildcat keeper Blake Beber, too, was on the spot.
What was he thinking right before the kick? “I was watching their guy, looking for a tipoff on which way he’d go.” And was there a tipoff? He grinned. “About a half-second before he kicked it.” A half-second was all Beber needed. He threw himself to the left and cleared the ball beyond the goalpost to preserve the tie.
On the other end of the pitch, senior co-captain Jonathan Faxon was having his way with Hopkins’ defenders, calmly moving the ball left and right to open teammates. The Wildcats’ only real scoring opportunities, though, were the ones Faxon took himself, moving up on set plays. His best chance came from directly in front. Despite being covered by six Hilltoppers, Faxon rose to meet a corner kick and headed the ball about a foot over the bar. That was pretty much it for scoring opportunities, as the second half was a tense back-and-forth affair with the defense winning out at each end.
Rye Country Day is used to it. They’ve played exactly one game all season long in which they scored more than two goals: a wild 5-4 loss to Greens Farms two weeks ago. The record includes 2-1 and 1-0 wins and a couple of 1-1 ties to go with the scoreless deadlocks. We asked Coach Cristiano Pereira if he was tempted to throw more players forward on set plays.
“Actually, no. We got burned the last time we tried that, when we gave up a breakaway goal. I’m happy to keep a clean sheet and hope for an opportunistic score to win.”
Unfortunately, the team achieved neither in their next game against the French-American School. The 2-1 loss on Saturday of Wildcat Weekend left the squad with a record of 3-3-5. They traveled to Millbrook School post-press time to try to nose above the .500 mark before the start of the New York State Independent Schools’ playoffs October 28.