Although the term “half-court” doesn’t come into play in field hockey, that was the term that came to mind while watching Rye Country Day’s domination of Holy Child in a contest September 27.
By Melanie Cane
Although the term “half-court” doesn’t come into play in field hockey, that was the term that came to mind while watching Rye Country Day’s domination of Holy Child in a contest September 27. The Wildcats kept possession of the puck on the Gryphons’ side of the field at least 90 percent of the game.
Wildcats’ goalie Melanie Mandell had no saves, while Holy Child’s Charlotte Wertimer had 25 saves. The most amazing thing about this statistic is that this was sophomore goalie Wertimer’s first varsity game.
This game between rivals is usually held earlier in the season, but this year Wildcats Coach Georgette Summers arranged multiple scrimmages against high-level teams in early September, so the schedule was arranged around that. The Gryphons came into the game 8-1, the Wildcats 3-1. In this rivalry, Rye Country Day is usually the stronger team and this year was no exception. With a team full of four-year veterans and several NYAISA championships under their belt, the Wildcats are a force to be reckoned with. Holy Child Coach Barb Lorys expected the game to be lopsided, especially with their top scorer, Lily Dennis, injured, but she was impressed with her team’s perseverance and especially with the newcomer goalie. “I didn’t expect to win, in fact, I expected a blowout because we haven’t been strong defensively, but Charlotte saved us, literally. ”
The Wildcats controlled the game from the get-go, starting out with intensity and focus. Zoe Verni, senior captain, and Kathleen Curtin controlled the midfield, passing, stealing and communicating well. Coach Summers called it the best they’ve played all season. In fact, the coach thought the whole team played their best in the first half, making connections, forming layers and playing with vision.
It took Rye Country Day nearly eight minutes to score their first goal, which Charlotte Cooper passed to senior captain Yana Lee who scored a one timer, but not for lack of trying. Holy Child’s goalie had multiple saves before one got past her. The Wildcats scored two more times in the first half. Sophie Grayer tipped one in on a Verni shot for the second goal and Verni tipped in a shot by Lee for the third.
Rye looked like a different team in the second half, coming out flat. Part of this change was attributable to the many substitutions Coach Summers made to give some injured starters a rest, but a major factor was that the team’s sense of urgency had waned given their lead and superior level of play in the first half. Coach Summers called several time outs to try to energize the girls. Ultimately she was successful and The Wildcats’ Lee scored once more.
Coach Lorys thought it was a good game that highlighted things the girls need to work on, such as positioning, as they were always behind the ball, and cutting off passes. She said that since the game was close it gave the girls confidence because the Wildcats were the best team they had played thus far. She also called it a good experience for them because their schedule is against tougher teams from now on.
Coach Summers thought it was a good game as well and she said it shined a light on their pattern of losing intensity when they are winning, which they need to rectify.
Since that game, the Wildcats beat Bronxville, an undefeated public school, (Rye High tied Bronxville) and Hamden Hall. The Gryphons tied Masters, 0-0.