By Mitch Silver
The Rye Country Day Girls’ Soccer team played host to the King School October 6 in a match that went back and forth. That is, until the Wildcats got a red card late in the first half.
After controlling the ball in the opening five minutes of play, Rye allowed the Vikings’ left wing to drive down the side of the field and score with a hard shot to keeper Isa Perry’s right.
Two minutes later, Perry came a long way off her line to block a King shot with her body. Not long after that, she took herself out of the game with a sprained wrist. As the Wildcats do not have a back-up goalkeeper on their roster, senior Leigh Smith volunteered to handle the position. She played the rest of the way, making several stops and acquitting herself well.
Meanwhile, Head Coach Jack Booth’s players rallied to tie the score when junior Romi Schreiber put on a burst of speed along the right sideline before blasting a shot past the King keeper. Five minutes later, sophomore Mary Grace Eubanks, after a nice bit of footwork got her past her defender, scored to put the Wildcats up 2-1.
The lead didn’t last long. A Viking attack led to Leigh Smith struggling to make the save. Sophomore Lily Smith cleared the ball off the line, but it hit her opponent’s arm in the process. She was shown a red card and King put away the ensuing penalty kick to tie the game heading into halftime.
At the break, Coach Booth instructed his 10-player team to play a more conservative game without the ball, to avoid leaving themselves vulnerable to the extra player. But 12 minutes in, King worked the ball around the offensive zone and scored with a high shot to take the lead. The Rye Country Day defense, led by senior co-captain Sydney Merrill, along with substitute goalie Leigh Smith, excelled the rest of the game against superior numbers, but the home team couldn’t get the ball over the line into King’s net. The game ended in a 3-2 loss.
Afterwards, both Coach Booth and Assistant Coach Jenny Smith said they felt a need to build momentum the rest of the way. “So far, it’s been win one, lose one,” Coach Smith said. “We have to do better heading into playoffs.”
The Wildcats were scheduled to travel to Portledge School October 11, visit Holy Child two days later, and return home to face Columbia Prep October 15 at 2 p.m.