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By Melanie Cane

If sports were injury-free, who knows how far the Gryphons’ Soccer team would have gone this season? They started off strong and maintained a high level of play until the last week of regular season, when due to multiple injuries, they were unable to sustain the momentum. Lead scorer and co-captain Ryan Delane and Lucy Egler suffered concussions and star defensive back and co-captain Madi Warne sustained injuries in the last game of the regulation play. Still, the team improved upon last year’s record, received the No. 6 seed in the FAA, and made it to the quarterfinals of the League tournament.

Second-year coach Mike Rivera said the team really grasped his style of play and applied it well. The girls played their hearts out and had many season highs.

One of the high points was beating rival Rye Country Day School 1-0 on October 12. Another, despite a 2-1 loss, was their game against top-ranked Sacred Heart-NY October 18. In the first half, Sacred Heart dominated so completely it looked as though the Gryphons were swimming in a sea of red. At halftime, Coach Rivera made adjustments and his girls shut down the Cardinals and scored.

Reflecting on the season, Rivera said, “One of our goals was to improve from the beginning of the season to the end, and everyone on this team knows they accomplished that.”

Holy Child is graduating four seniors who were key to its success: the three captains Delane, Warne, and Jax Pace, “the heart of the midfield,” as well as their most versatile player, Audrey Maglich. “Looking forward, our underclassman will have big shoes to fill,” said the coach. “Our seniors left their mark on this program and each of our players learned a lot from them. I look forward to next season and it can’t come soon enough.”

 

Emma Kryza with all the right moves

Ryan Delane transitioning

 

 

By Mitch Silver

Has there ever been a Rye Neck Boys’ Soccer team with a defense this good?

The 2017 edition of a storied program stoned all comers to win the Sectional Class B title without allowing a goal in tournament play. The capper came Saturday morning, when the fourth-seeded Panthers traveled to Lakeland High and topped the number-two seeds from Briarcliff by 1-0 ...fittingly, by an own goal.

After 80 minutes of scoreless back-and-forth play, Jonathan Casas found himself with a corner kick in the first minute of OT. His effort reached Spencer Goldberg’s head and then the crossbar before deflecting off the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. Then Rye Neck squelched every Briarcliff effort the rest of the way for their first Sectional title since 2014.

Few people saw this coming. Head Coach Bryan Iacovelli and his assistant, Ivan Martinez, inherited a squad in September without stalwart starters Luis Galeano, Pierre and Noah Klur, Tim Kelley, Reed Peterson, and Fraser Shaw all lost to graduation. What the Hornidge Road boys <did> have was a pair of veteran goalkeepers in Tom Bermingham and Guillermo Pons, a hard-working, go-for-everything forward in Jack Sheldon, and a solid core of returning players.

Perhaps the biggest change from 2016 was the move of winger Donovan Dunning to the middle of the field. Dunning has made the position his own, using his speed and athleticism, as well as his soccer smarts, to knit the back line and forwards together. Has it paid off? Has it ever.

Seeded behind the Killer B’s of Blind Brook and Briarcliff thanks to a few mid-season overtime losses, the Panthers started slowly in their playoff opener against Westlake before a late Jon Casas goal on a set piece from 25 yards out broke the tie. Sheldon added the clincher with 10 seconds left when he flicked a free kick from Thomas Crook off his head. Bermingham had six saves for the winners.

The second-round game against Putnam Valley might have ended in the same 2-0 score, but it was entirely different. Dunning (“Double D”) picked up a loose ball off a corner kick on the left side of the box and perfectly placed it past the far post with just a minute gone in the contest. Jack Sheldon, that man again, headed in a Casas corner in the 15th minute of the second half to ice the win. Goalie Guillermo Pons only had to make one save.

The Blind Brook semifinal, delayed a day by rain, was going to be tough. Not only would it be played at the home of their archrivals, the Trojans were the top seeds in Class B. But the Panthers had defeated Blind Brook 2-1 October 12 and were confident going in.

After weathering some early attacks, Rye Neck was knocking on the door a half-hour into the game and appeared to go ahead when Thomas Hendrickx launched a left-footed kick that hit the twine behind the goalie. The twine it hit wasn’t the back of the net, though. The ball had sailed just over the crossbar and hit the soft fencing beyond.

The Panthers would score for real with just a minute left in the half when Sheldon turned the opposing right back inside out and sent one into the mixer that Jon Casas converted.

Fifteen minutes after the break, Rye Neck’s striker got one for himself. Rising above three Blind Brook defenders he must have jumped for 20 headers throughout the game Sheldon got just enough of the ball to pop it over the desperate fingers of the goalkeeper. And then it was on to the finals.

Rye Neck met Rhinebeck, the champions of Section 9, post-press time. The 15-3-1 Hawks beat Marlboro, Fallsburg, and Dover to win their first title since 2014, just like Rye Neck. The Panthers, meanwhile, are 7-0-2 since their last loss and haven’t allowed a goal in their last 464 minutes of play.

The winner plays the Long Island champions, either Wheatley or Center Moriches, tomorrow.

 

Center back Thomas Crook uses his head to break up a play.

Colin Kelley fights to maintain possession.

 

 

By Wendy Hyer

Rye Racquet Club’s 3.5 40+ women’s team, the USTA Eastern section representative, arrived early at the National Championships in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida the weekend of Oct. 27-29 to get used to the Har-Tru courts.  Conditions were windy and rainy over the weekend, so mid-way the format was amended to allow them to get all the matches in.  Over three days of round robin play, the Racquet Scientists won all their matches, each time just pulling out the win over teams from Mid-Atlantic (3-2), New England (3-2), Hawaii (3-2) and Pacific Northwest (3-2).  In the semifinals on Sunday, they handed a tough Midwest team their first tournament loss winning it 3-2.  After a quick 30 minute break it was on to the finals against the Caribbean team, also undefeated.  It was oh so close with the final score again 3-2…but this time in favor of the team from Puerto Rico.

The Club’s 4.0 40+ women’s team was the Eastern section representative for USTA and traveled to Orlando, Florida the weekend of Oct. 20 for the National Championships.  Very windy conditions and a tough draw in the round robin group made play challenging.  The team came up short against both Southern California and then the Midwest team.  They finished strong however against Northern, winning 4 out of the 5 courts.  They were also able to play some tennis just for fun against the Caribbean team from Puerto Rico (amazing that they were able to come) and Texas, who became national champs. 

The 4.5+ 40+ women’s team traveled to Mobile, Alabama the weekend of Oct. 20-22 for the National Championships as the Eastern section representative.  In round robin play, they were an impressive 3-0, beating teams from Northern California (4-1), Hawaii (4-1) and a previously undefeated Pacific Northwest (3-2).  In the semi-finals, they faced a tough Florida team who came out on top 3-2.  Sadly, the weather gods prevented the last round from being played and Eastern ended up sharing 3rd place with Missouri Valley; similarly, Florida and Southern weren’t able to play for the championship and thus were declared co-winners.

By Melanie Cane

In their last regular season game, October 28 at home against Hopkins, the Wildcats overcame a whistle-happy referee, an 0-2 deficit, and a formidable foe to win 3-2. They finished the season 12-3 and are seeded first in the NYSAIS tournament.

In the first half, the Wildcats came out flat. They were struggling to adjust to a new formation implemented by Coach Georgette Summers to prepare for post-season by capitalizing on the individuals’ strengths. Four minutes into the half, Olivia Friedberg received a green card and Hopkins scored three minutes later.

The Hilltoppers racked up two corner penalties, but the Wildcats defense shut them down. Halfway through the first half, Wildcat Kaela Smith got off a great shot on a pass from Gemma Green, which missed the goal by inches. Then Rye Country Day failed to convert a corner. On the clear, Hopkins hit a long pass down the field where Wildcat Alana Jones was waiting to return the ball to her teammate Paulina Harasimowicz at midfield. Rye had a corner penalty and Elizabeth Friedberg missed the goal by inches. They earned another corner penalty and Green missed by inches again. The half ended with Rye down 0-1.

The Hilltoppers jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the second half on a corner penalty. Rye Country Day’s Green converted a corner penalty on a pass from Katherine Holtby at 25:32 to make it a 2-1 game. Green scored again less than a minute later. She took the ball into the circle, dodged several opponents, and then flicked it past the goalie. The Wildcats had several more corner penalties, where they took point-blank shots that the Hopkins goalie blocked with her body.

With seven minutes left to play, Wildcat Kaela Smith scored the winning goal on a tip in off Elizabeth Freidberg’s shot. Olivia Friedberg received a green card with six minutes left, but the team stepped up to play great defense in her absence.

Tension was high at the end of the game as Hopkins got a corner penalty at the final buzzer. They played the corner after the buzzer and Wildcat goalie Genny Kortick deflected the shot. Hopkins got off two more passes before Rye Country gained the game-ending possession.

This was the Wildcats’ second come-from-behind thriller in two games. On October 26, against Millbrook, they overcame a 0-2 deficit with ten minutes left to play and won 3-2 in OT.

This team thrives under pressure, noted Coach Summers, which bodes well for post-season. Rye Country Day hosted Nichols in the NYSIAS quarterfinals, post-press time. If they win, the Wildcats will host the semifinals November 3.

Hopkins players in pursuit of Elizabeth Friedberg

Olivia Friedberg chasing a loose ball.

Gemma Green in motion

Paulina Harasimowicz and Katherine Holtby in control in midfield

The Wildcats leaving the field after the win

 

By Mitch Silver

The Bronxville Broncos were the top seeds in the 2016 Section C tournament and slipped all the way to second this year. But they still pack a wallop, as the outgunned Panthers of Rye Neck discovered last week when they achieved a single shot on goal while losing 8-0. Even so, being knocked out of the playoffs by the Broncos for the second straight year doesn’t disguise the fact that Rye Neck field hockey is taking baby steps toward the top under first-year Head Coach Marissa Kluber.

A year ago, the Panthers had to win a play-in game just to be included in the main draw. This year, thanks in part to a stunning 5-0 defeat of Hastings in the last league game of the regular season, the team was seeded seventh, and thus was able to proceed directly to the stone wall that is Bronxville. One bright spot: despite yielding eight goals, keeper Natalie Sutter made 10 saves on the afternoon. The fact that she was still standing at the end of the game after 18 shots on goal is greatly to her credit.

After the game, Coach Kluber said, “I have seen tremendous improvement in the girls. It can be hard for the younger group to approach a team of juniors and seniors and look at their size and age difference, but the girls have developed into their positions and settled into their spots nicely and with more confidence.

As for Natalie, she’s a freshman and the position could have been intimidating. Instead, she improved right through the season. The Bronxville game was her second in a row facing a lot of shots: she made 18 saves out of 23 against Rye. We lost by five, but she really kept us in the competition. I’m looking forward to seeing her develop as the years go by.

April Zhung controls the middle of the field against Croton-Harmon.

 

 

By Melanie Cane

Head of the Charles Regatta is the largest and most prestigious two-day regatta in the world, with 11,000 athletes rowing in over 1,900 boats in 66 events. At the 53rd annual event held over the October 21 weekend, RowAmerica entered seven boats comprising 32 rowers, five coxswains, and four spare rowers, the most athletes they have ever sent.

All of Row America’s boats raced on October 22. In stunning fashion, the Women’s Youth 4+ led the team off with a first-place finish of 18:07.856, beating the second boat by nearly eight seconds.

Girls’ Coach Marko Serafimovski said, “I knew the Four was fast, but Head of the Charles is not all about speed, it is also about how well the coxswain steers down the course. I expected the girls to come in in the top three.” He added, “Secretly, I believed they could win, but I did not tell them that before the race!”

Junior Izzy Aronson coxswained the boat. The rowers were seniors Hannah Schaenman and Kelly Morrissy, and sophomores Ashley Giannetti and Emily Tonkel.

In addition to the Women’s Youth 4+, several other boats had solid performances. Girls’ Eight finished 17th out of 85 crews and the Girls’ Youth 2x earned 23 in a heat of 48.

The Men’s Youth 8+ placed ninth out of a field of 85. The rowers are mostly sophomores and juniors. Men’s Youth 4+ came in 30th out of 86, Men’s Youth 4x+ finished 15th out of 32, and the Men’s Youth 2x placed 28th out of 48.

Aleksandar Radovic, the Boys’ head coach, sees fall racing as preparation for the spring, “where we will have a chance to prove that we are one of the fastest clubs in the country.”

RAR’s results qualified five crews for next year’s Head of the Charles.

RowAmericaRye Women’s Youth 4+ team in their home waters