Rye Country Day Field Hockey
Wildcats Beat the Heat, Then Kingswood
By Melanie Cane
Without the advantage of a scrimmage due to the heat Rye Country Day School’s Field Hockey team met their first opponent, Kingswood Oxford, in their home opener September 5. Despite their lack of game experience, the Wildcats won 3-1, scoring all of their goals on corner plays.
Rye Country Day jumped out to an early lead five minutes into the game.
Kaela Smith tipped the ball into the net off a wide shot by Natalie Sanchez. A few minutes later, Olivia Friedberg shot a rocket from the right side, but the Wyverns’ goalie made a magnificent save.
Due to the heat, the teams took water breaks every ten minutes. After the first break, Kingswood dominated for five minutes, interfering with Wildcats passes and making steals. Then Paulina Harasimowicz made a long pass from midfield to Smith who shot wide, but the Wildcats got a corner on the play. Kingswood stole the ball off the in pass and maintained possession until the next water break.
The Wildcats turned over the ball on their next corner play and Kingswood missed three consecutive corner shots. Rye earned another corner play with five minutes left in the half, but Kingswood again stole the ball. In this play, Elizabeth Friedberg injured her finger and sat out the rest of the game. The Wyverns earned several corners and got off several shots which the Wildcats defense, led by Amelia Lower, deflected away from the goal.
With a 1-0 lead, Rye Country Day came out playing more aggressively in the second half. Nina Pagnelli scored off a corner pass at 25:25. Smith scored the Wildcats third goal off a corner at 15:52. Then Kingswood earned several consecutive corners after a fast break play and they finally scored with 12 minutes left in the game.
Both teams fought hard the rest of the game, earning multiple corners, but neither team scored due to stellar defensive play at both ends of the field.
Coach Georgette Summers was pleased with how well the girls played in their first outing and praised Harasimowicz for controlling the midfield and outstanding defense. She also singled out Olivia Friedberg for creating scoring opportunities, Lower for supporting her teammates, and Smith for great ball movement.
“We had good team synergy, but we had trouble with transitional play. That was mostly because we switched our midfielders and backs to give the girls a break from the heat. That burned us, but one of our goals was to score off corners and we achieved that,” said the coach.
Defender Paula Harasimowicz
Samantha Hirschberg reaching for ball on transition
Elizabeth Friedberg scatters defense with high swing.