In late September, Rye Neck won two very different games. It was like pulling teeth for Coach Beth Gulotta’s squad September 23, twice falling behind a feisty Irvington squad before prevailing 5-3.
By Mitch Silver
In late September, Rye Neck won two very different games. It was like pulling teeth for Coach Beth Gulotta’s squad September 23, twice falling behind a feisty Irvington squad before prevailing 5-3. It took a Brianna Cefaloni score with 22 seconds to go in the first half to give the Panthers their first lead. Coach Beth Gulotta noted, “We attack in force, but sometimes we have trouble with the transition back to defense.”
The team had no such trouble the following Monday when they faced a team they tied earlier in the month. Rye Neck thumped Pleasantville 8-1 behind Siena-bound Nicole Miller’s four goals and three assists.
A win over Croton-Harmon was followed by another letdown October 7 when the Panthers lost to Pelham 5-2. “We went into half-time up 1-0,” Coach Gulotta reported, “and then we ended up losing 5-2. We lost the intensity and the hustle. It’s definitely a lesson we’ll have to learn if we want to move forward.”
After a big 4-3 win over Blind Brook September 23, Coach Mark Canno’s girls beat Irvington 5-1 September 29 to push their record to 7-1. Then they ran into a scheduling buzz saw, facing powers Bronxville and Edgemont in back-to-back matches. The 5-2 loss to Bronxville, followed by the 6-1 defeat at the hands of Edgemont, were not unexpected.
The team dropped to 7-4 on the season when they lost 5-2 to non-league Yorktown on their home court October 7. Though 1st singles player Clemence Balzano dropped her match, Diana King and Alana Proudian prevailed in the other singles matches. Rye Neck lost all four doubles matches, though Ellie Williams and Anabel Thurman made it close on the number three court.
Coach Canno was still upbeat. “We look forward to the Conference 3 tournament starting Tuesday at White Plains High. Diana and Clemence will be the No. 1 or 2 seed in doubles. Mizuki Shionoya and Juilia Wright will play doubles, as will Lauren Mastaloni and Carly Merrill. Alana will play singles. The top five advance to the Sectionals.”
The harriers of Coach Lori Penesis traveled to Irvington for a dual meet September 23. The boys, led by third-place finisher Conner Sexton, narrowly dropped their side of the meet, 23-32, while the girls won an even tighter contest, 26-31, with Cayla Vinzons breaking the tape in 18:41.5. The victory was the first over a full girls’ team in the three years Penesis has been coaching. Two weeks later, in a League meet on a course they’d never run before, the Panther boys finished third behind Irvington and Dobbs Ferry, and the girls came in fourth.
Earning All-League honors were Conner Sexton, Ryan O’Day, Cayla Vinzons, and Kiara O’Day. All-League Honorable Mention went to Kris McClain, Brendan Tuohy, and Erin Drace.
The Panthers ran roughshod over Ardsley 4-0. Or rather, Luis Galeano did, scoring all four Rye Neck goals. (What’s more than a hat trick? A top hat trick?) They scored a second shutout September 30, edging Hastings 1-0 in overtime. A week later, an injury-riddled Panther team lost 4-0 to 9-2-2 Bronxville.
The Lady Panthers broke a three-game losing skid with a rousing 2-2 overtime thriller at Port Chester. Five minutes into the game, Maggie O’Malley scored on a crazy, wind-blown free kick from the right sideline that flew over the Rams’ keeper’s head. Rye Neck returned the favor three minutes later when a defensive miss-kick wasn’t scooped up by the otherwise-impeccable Panthers’ netminder, Sabrina Albanese, who made 16 saves on the afternoon and punted the ball consistently beyond midfield.
A second Port Chester score before the half looked like it might be the winner, but that was before Jasmine Reyes put the ball in front and high scorer Lauren Vallarelli was there to make it 2-2.