banner1gif.gif

 

Current and former Rye High School basketball players, along with dozens of Saturday and Sunday Rye Recreation players, gathered to celebrate Coach Doug Tuttle and his longtime support of the men’s basketball tradition. Families and current high school coaches dedicated a bench to Coach Tuttle in appreciation of his commitment to player development.

Master of Ceremonies Bart DiNardo, Assistant Varsity Basketball Coach, shared the backstory on the dedication. Last year, former varsity players Mark Croughan, Michael Carty, and Brett Egan presented the idea of a bench dedicated to their coach to the Rye Recreation Commission, which was unanimously adopted.

After a fundraising effort last spring, the hardest part was setting a date for the ceremony. Looping Doug’s wife, Abby Tuttle, into the process, helped move the plan forward and the Friday after Thanksgiving was set. Doug’s sons, John and Dave, and Rye High School alumni who were home from college or visiting family for the holiday were quietly notified of the date and time.

Michael Carty and Mark Croughan, via text message as he was on his way back to Washington and Lee for college basketball practice, delivered heartfelt and admiring remarks about their coach.

John Aguilar, Varsity Basketball Coach, expressed his deep appreciation for Coach Tuttle’s experience, guidance, and friendship.

Kevin O’Neil, father of three former Rye High players and longtime Rye Rec player himself, praised Doug’s “tutelage of the next generation year after year, one weekend at a time.”

John Tuttle talked about his dad’s love of the game, and expressed his family’s thanks to all the current players, coaches, alumni, and family friends in the room.

When Doug was asked to say a few words and while some folks in the room wiped away tears, he said, “I’m a very lucky man.”

Actually Coach, generations of high school basketball players think they are the lucky ones as the beneficiaries of your stories, tips, and prodding to be their best selves on and off the court.

—Kendall Egan

Photos by Melanie Cane

 

John Tuttle, at left, sharing a story about his dad, at right.

Doug Tuttle, surrounded by former and current Rye High School and Rye Rec basketball players who “benched” him for life, at a dedication ceremony at Rye Recreation on November 24.

 

By Melanie Cane

For the seventh time in nine years, Rye Country Day School's Field Hockey team won the NYSAIS Championship. The reigning champions topped second-seeded Hackley 3-2 in an overtime nail biter November 5. This was the second year in a row that the Wildcats have beaten the Hornets in overtime for the title.

Rye Country Day played with high intensity from start to finish. They dominated the first half, but were unable to score due to the stellar play of Hackley goalie Jenny Canoni, who made 13 saves. The game was scoreless at halftime.

The Wildcats got on the board first on a goal by Olivia Friedberg. With 13 minutes left in the second half, Gemma Green drove down the left sideline on a breakaway. She crossed to Friedberg who backhanded it from mid-air into the left corner of the net. The Hornets scored five minutes later on a scramble in front of the net.

With the game knotted at one, both Olivia and her sister Elizabeth received green cards and were sidelined simultaneously. The Hornets players applauded when they went out on penalties. Hackley capitalized on their advantage by making a penalty stroke with 2:10 left.

But the moment the Friedberg sisters were back on the field, they channeled their anger into fine play. From center, Elizabeth carried the ball and passed to Olivia, who then maneuvered past the defenders down the field. Canoni came out to challenge and Olivia dove and sent the ball into the left corner with less than a minute to play.

The 2-2 tie at the end of regulation play sent the game into a ten-minute overtime. Four minutes in, Olivia dribbled to the top of the circle where she passed to Elizabeth. Elizabeth shot. Canoli stopped the ball, but Elizabeth hit the rebound into the left corner.

Shortly before the buzzer, Wildcat goalie Sabrina Reznik blocked a penalty stroke by Hackley, and the day belonged to Rye Country Day.

“It was an overwhelming and brutal matchup,” said Reznik, “and it took a total team effort to win the championship.”

The Friedberg sisters added, “We’re a really young team with a lot of new players and we worked really hard to come together. We’re so proud of the team!”

Describing their bond on the field, the sisters said, “Some people think we communicate telepathically, but really it’s just that we’ve been playing together for so long we know where one another will be. Sometimes we even switch positions if one of us is tired.”

Before the game, Coach Summers told her team that the championship might come down to green cards, so when both Friedbergs were carded, she was worried. But she was confident that if the game went into overtime the Wildcats had an advantage. “We are a small team so all of our scrimmages have been seven on seven as you have in overtime. We had a lot of practice with that formation, more than most other teams.”

The coach had high praise for the Friedberg sisters, Reznik, Green, and Paulina Harasimowicz, “our rock all season.”

Captions:

Elizabeth Friedberg outrunning the Hornet defenders.

Gemma Green in hot pursuit of a loose ball

Coach Georgette Summers giving a championship plaque to sophomore goalie Sabrina Reznik.

The NYSAIS champs

 

 

By Mitch Silver

The moment the Rye Neck Girls’ Volleyball team finished their straight-set win over Pawling in the Class C semifinals November 3, Head Coach Kristin Desio and her crew turned their thoughts to Haldane and the Sectional finals the following Sunday morning at Pace University.

“We beat Haldane during the season in four sets, but we were playing our absolute best and they looked a little sluggish,” Coach Desio confided. “They’re used to winning the big ones.”

That last bit might have been an understatement. When the two squads met for the championship, Rye Neck was looking for its first title since 2011. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils were gunning for their 14th Sectional crown in 16 seasons. Of course, their streak of 13 consecutive titles came against small school competition before moving up a class in 2015.

Rye Neck took the first set and was ahead 10-7 in the third when a Haldane timeout led to an 18-6 run and a 2-1 lead that seemed to deflate the locals. Even so, the players and coach held their heads high.

The second-seeded Blue Devils beat the Panthers 22-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-19, proving to be every bit as tough as Coach Desio had suspected.

“The senior leadership on this team got us where we are today,” Coach Desio said. “The clincher, I think, was when Sam Yannuzzi agreed to give up her cherished libero jersey so we could use her strength as a hitter outside. Her unselfishness set the tone.”

Olivia Beach, the powerful senior who led the team in kills, echoed her words. “There’s a lot of love on this team. And love is a really powerful thing.”

15 Photos

Photos: Haldane tops Rye in Class C volleyball final

 Olivia Beach powers the ball through Pawling’s attempted blocks in the semifinals.

 

By Melanie Cane

At the beginning of the season, the Rye High Volleyball team’s goal was to make it to Sectionals again. Coach Geri Jones said, “We worked hard all season. We trained every day with that goal in front of us.”

Rye won 14 games and lost only three in the regular season. Heading into the playoffs, they were seeded fifth.

The Garnets made Sectionals last year, losing to Pelham in the semifinals. In this year’s quarterfinals, on October 31, the Garnets faced the fourth-seed Pelicans again. They played them in a point-for-point game, coming out on top 3-2, and avenging last year’s loss.

The victory sent Rye to the home court of Walter Panas, the 2016 Section 1 Class A winners, on November 2. On the way to the game, Coach Jones told her team that they had nothing to lose and urged them to work for every point and never give up.

The Garnets fought the Walter Panas Panthers to the end, but lost 25-17, 25-22, 25-13.

The 2017 Rye High Volleyball squad has a lot to be proud of. They finished the season 16-4 and many of the players earned high recognition. Senior Cayla Brown was voted League Player of the Year. Brown and Jade Iadorella received All Section and All Conference Honors. Setter Lizzie Blonstein was awarded All Conference Honorable Mention. Brown, Iadorella, Blonstein, and Alex Kirk received All League Honors. Maddie Depaola received All League Honorable Mention. Iadorella ended the season with 85 aces, and Blonstein racked up 540 assists.

 

Cayla Brown makes a jumping kill.

Alex Kirk digging out the ball.

 

 

 

 

By Mitch Silver

The newly crowned Section 1 champion Rye Neck Panthers had little time to savor their thrilling 1-0 victory over Briarcliff for the Class B soccer title. Four days later they took the field at Lakeland High in a Regional semifinal against Section 9’s Rhinebeck Hawks.

Things didn’t start off on the right foot, as the Hawks controlled play for most of the half. When Nakoa Zuger was left free on a corner kick in the 37th minute, his header would prove to be all the offense the Hawks would get. But it looked to be enough after an hour of play.

That’s when Rye Neck striker Jack Sheldon was fouled in the 18-yard box. Jonathan Casas took the kick from the spot, which deflected off keeper Ethan Viator and dribbled behind the end line, resulting in a corner kick. Casas said, “I was really nervous taking the PK. I missed it, and knew I had to put in a good corner kick to make up for it. Jack’s header was beautiful.”

The center forward’s goal from the Casas assist finished the scoring in regulation. Then, in the second OT period, center back Tom Crook drove a ball into the box that Sheldon got his head on. The ball deflected off goalkeeper Viator and bounced out to Rye Neck’s junior stopper Del DaSilva, who headed it in for the 2-1 winner.

It was out-of-the-frying-pan time 72 hours later, when the locals traveled to Byram Hills to take on the top-ranked team in New York State, the Center Moriches Red Devils. The Long Island champions dressed 25 players to the Panthers’ 17, and they shuttled fresh players onto the pitch throughout the game.

Still, though the Devils retained most of the possession in the first half — through their beautiful short passing game and the power of All-State scoring machine Ben Hamilton (38 goals on the season) — Rye Neck goalie Guillermo Pons and his defense, anchored by Crook, held the fort.

They had a little luck, too. Crook cleared a shot off the line seven minutes in, and Hamilton hit the crossbar midway through the half. Pons made eight saves before the intermission but, unfortunately, two of them — impressive stops from point-blank range — were followed immediately by a third, another close-in shot by Liam Pulsipher, for the score.

The goal gave Center Moriches the lead and Rye Neck the motivation. After the game, center midfielder Donovan Dunning said, “We talked at halftime about how they were beating us, made some adjustments and came out in the second half and took over momentum.”

The pressure told almost immediately, as a Red Devil defender bodied Spencer Goldberg off the ball in the penalty box. Dunning took the kick, but goalkeeper Curtis Copenhaver threw himself left and smothered the shot.

The last half-hour of the contest saw two players dominate: Copenhaver made play after play in the Center Moriches goal, and Tom Crook, the player of the game, stopped everything coming his way before sending ball after ball into the box that just eluded his teammates.

When the final whistle blew to end their season, Rye Neck had been attacking the Red Devils’ goal for a solid ten minutes. But the 1-0 decision sent the top seeds into the State Final Four, where they won the State Class B title last Sunday, and the 14-5-3 Panthers home.

If it’s any consolation, Rye Neck is now the fifth-ranked team in New York. And prospects for 2018 are even rosier.

Jack Sheldon (12), Spencer Goldberg (7), and Tom Crook (4) gave Center Moriches fits.

Dan Fujiwara’s header is saved by the defender.

By Melanie Cane

When the Garnets lost the Girls’ Soccer Section championship on a questionable call by a referee, they did not argue with the ref, and moments later they shook hands with and congratulated the winning team. Their graciousness in defeat and respect for the refs are the qualities that earned this team the Westchester-Putnam Approved Soccer Officials Association Sportsmanship Award. Only one girls’ team and one boys’ team in the Section (Class AA, Class A, Class B, and Class C) receives the Sportsmanship Award. Last year, the Garnets were honored with the Sportsmanship Award from the Section’s Athletic Directors. And for the second consecutive year, Coach Rich Savage received the Coach of the Year award from his peers.

At the awards ceremony, Captains Isabel Castro and twins Hannah and Lilly Friedrich gave credit to Coach Savage “for teaching us the proper etiquette on and off the field, and for leading by example. It’s a huge honor for our team to accept the award and we’re very thankful for it. It means a lot to be recognized for qualities above and beyond playing the game.”

The Best Coach award is intricately intertwined with the Sportsmanship award, although they are not always given together. The girls on this team agree that Coach Savage deserved his award. They cited his exhortation from the beginning of the season: “I cannot make soccer your favorite sport, but I hope this is your favorite season.” They unanimously concurred that it was their favorite season because Coach Savage is “the most enthusiastic, involved, and caring coach we’ve have ever had. His coaching style is always changing to best suit the current team. He keeps our best interest at heart while pushing us to be the best people and players we can be. From the girls who start, to the girls who don't get as much time on the field, Savage ensures that everyone feels a part of the squad. He is an amazing coach and person who cares for all of us.”

Junior All-Section players Molly Broderick and Sarah DeGraw have nothing but praise about their coach. “He outdoes himself every year. He always believes in you, even when you doubt yourself. He motivates us all to succeed.” Other players added, “From the fun practices, to the toilet paper fights, to the birthday parties, to the team dinners, to the community service, Coach Savage does everything possible to facilitate team bonding and community involvement. He is a renaissance man of Rye soccer!”

Rich Savage is also Director of the Rye Youth Soccer Program in which over 1,000 boys and girls participate. Many of those young players attend the Varsity Soccer games. After each game, Savage takes a picture of the kids with the team to preserve the memory for everyone.

Coach Savage believes that, “any award or recognition I receive is just a reflection of an amazing group of girls. I think it’s more an award for the team than the individual. All 24 girls scored a goal this season. Moreover, they brought the entire soccer community together. What’s even more impressive is this is the second year in a row the girls won a Sportsmanship award for their exemplary behavior before, during, and after the games. Receiving two different sportsmanship awards from two different groups is an amazing accomplishment and speaks volumes for the team and the girls.”

 

The Garnet Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team with Rye Youth League Players after their last game of the season

Captains Lilly Friedrich, Isabel Castro, and Hannah Friedrich with Coach Rich Savage