Rye Neck Boys’ Soccer

By Mitch Silver

The 2017 edition of Rye Neck Boys’ Soccer appeared to be on a shakedown cruise when the season began. Not only was all-Section standout Luis Galeano playing in college, so were a raft of other starters, including striker Reed Peterson, most of the midfield, and three-quarters of the back line.

Half of the coaching tandem was new as well, with former Panther great Ivan Martinez in and Frank Gizzo out, making good on a pledge to spend more time with his young family. The changes made for a bumpy start, with four losses — all of them closely fought — dampening the team’s spirits.

But that was then and this is now. Coaches Bryan Iacovelli and Martinez have sorted things out, moving speedy holdover Donovan Dunning to the middle and teaming Dan Fujiwara with target man Jack Sheldon up top. Defenders Thomas Crook, Delmiro DaSilva, Colin Kelley, Connor Flood, and Luke Masciopinto have blended to form one of the strongest units in Section 1, and veteran keeps Tom Bermingham and Guillermo Pons have made the tough saves when they were needed.

In the past two weeks, the Panthers stoned Bronxville October 11 in front of the home crowd, with Tom Hendrickx and Sheldon netting the goals. The next day the team beat archrival Blind Brook 2-1, avenging an earlier loss. Jon Casas scored on a penalty kick with three minutes to go in the first half. The Trojans tied it up with little more than ten minutes left in the game, but Casas scored again 60 seconds later on a through ball from Spencer Goldberg and slipped it past the goalie.

After the game, Coach Iacovelli praised midfielder Dan Fujiwara and added, “Our back four was solid all game, slowing Blind Brook's counterattack.

The team traveled to Pelham for the Pelicans’ homecoming game Saturday night. Down after an early goal, Rye Neck evened things on a beautiful Spencer Goldberg shot from the left side into the far corner. Pelham scored again, but Jack Sheldon tied things up once more in the 33rd minute. The overtime game ended that way, 2-2.

Josh Goldin-McCarthy (11) won’t be denied. Spencer Goldberg backs up the play.

Jack Sheldon out-jumps four defenders.

Donovan Dunning shows off his hops against the Broncos.

Colin Kelley (6) is not about to be run off the ball.

Rye High Football

By Mitch Silver

What happens when a team coming off a 35-7 playoff-opening victory meets a team coming off a 35-7 playoff-opening win? Thatll be the unusual situation tonight when 5th-ranked Rye travels to Cortlandt Manor to play 4th-seeded Walter Panas High School.

A week ago, the Garnets registered an easy victory over the Nyack Indians. Senior Billy Chabot ran for 138 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Classmate Grant Meyerson scored and played tough defense. Sophomore Declan Lavelle completed 12 of 19 passes for 195 yards and two scores, including a stunning 46-yard hook-and-ladder completion to Gavin Kenny, who immediately pitched the ball to Andy Bach to put Rye up by 21-0 at the half.

Afterwards, Chabot was heard to say, “I think we have the best line in Section 1.” Lavelle used three more words to say the same thing: “If our line is blocking like that, there’s nobody that can beat us.”

Panas, a 35-7 winner over Sleepy Hollow, presents an interesting matchup. The 7-1 Panthers have scored ten more points than the 5-2 Garnets, who’ve given up 35 fewer against tougher opposition. To wit: Panas has beaten Peekskill (0-4 won-loss record), Lakeland (1-5), and Sleepy Hollow (1-8). But they lost 36-0 to Yorktown, while Rye scored 30 points in their loss to the undefeated Huskers.

Rye will field a plethora of offensive weapons tonight. With a couple of completions, Lavelle will go over 1,000 passing yards, the most in Class A. Gavin Kenny has nearly 100 more receiving yards than the next guy on the list, while Kyle Doran is fifth. Kenny and the two Chabots — Billy and Peter — all have scored at least four touchdowns.

Best of all, Head Coach Dino Garr’s boys are playing better defense than they have all season. While the attack has rung up 30 points or more in every game, save the early-season loss to Somers, Rye’s D is coming on, allowing but a single touchdown in each game since September.

Still, they play the game on the field, not on paper. Should the Garnets survive, they most likely will get a rematch against top-seeded Yorktown, which should be all the incentive they need.

“The best line in Section 1” is ready to fire off the ball against Nyack.

Lavelle to Lavelle: Declan throws to Brendan for a first down.

Rye High Volleyball

By Melanie Cane

In two matches over two weeks, Rye High beat Rye Neck by 3-1.

In their home match on October 10, the Garnets won the first game 25-11, led by Jade Iadarola, who had ten serves in a row, including several aces.

The Garnets lost the second game 25-19. Behind 6-1, they fought back and came within one point of the Panthers, making it 20-19. After the Panthers called a timeout, the Garnets made five unforced errors to hand the game to their crosstown competitors.

In the third game, the teams played evenly and the score was soon knotted at 5. Then the Rye High girls went on a five-point tear. Down 18-7, Rye Neck called a timeout, but Rye High kept its momentum and won 25-8. Cayla Brown served eight in a row with two aces.

In the last game, Rye High led the entire game and came away with a 25-12 victory. Lizzie Blonstein won eight consecutive points on her serve. Iadorala had ten kills and served seven aces. Brown had six kills and four blocks.

Coach Geri Jones gave high marks to her three captains, Blonstein, Olivia Negri, and Iadorala, for “doing an excellent job running the offense, switching their usual rotation of hitters and setters for variety, which worked.”

Rye High is currently 10-2, with their only losses to Ardsley and Pelham, both by 3-2. The girls said they hope to avenge the loss to Pelham this weekend at the Pelham tournament.

Alex Kirk going up for the kill

Cayla Brown ready with the block

Olivia Negri receiving the serve

Rye Country Day Girls’ Soccer

By Melanie Cane

Football players are not the only athletes prone to head injuries. Three girls on Rye Country Day’s Soccer team are sidelined with concussions. The three players are all starting seniors, one attacker and two midfielders. Their absence has forced Coach Alin Andrei to make major adjustments, including pulling up players from the Junior Varsity team.

In their home game against Greenwich Academy October 14, the Wildcats fought a tough battle against a top FAA team, but lost 2-0.

The game was action-packed, but scoreless until the final ten minutes. Both teams played with a fast-paced intensity and determination. In the first half, both teams got off multiple shots. Wildcat goalie Juliette Grasso made several diving saves that motivated her team to play even harder.

The teams hit the field with equal ferocity in the second half. The Wildcats had more shot opportunities than their foes, but were unable to finish. Senior striker Jenna Cohn had several near misses, including one from the left corner and one in front of the net. Gator goalie Ella Fugelsang made a diving stop at the left cross post and Gator defender Phoebe Casey headed Cohn’s other shot away from the net. Then senior Wildcat Maggie Sharpe hit the cross post on a breakaway diagonal rocket from the right side. Wildcat sophomores Isa Stronki and Laura Baine shot several times.

With ten minutes left, Greenwich Academy scored on a corner penalty kick. Coach Andrei said a Gator player held Grasso’s arm so she could not make the save. After the goal he switched up his formation moving one of the four defenders to midfield to aid the offense.

Unfortunately, Greenwich Academy scored a second goal a few minutes later. On that goal, a Wildcat defender accidentally blocked Grasso from picking up the ball when she was shielding the ball with her body.

Tri-captain Therese Mooney was proud that her team never gave up. “We proved to ourselves that we could dominate. The younger, less-experienced players on offense are willing to give up the glory of scoring and selflessly pass the ball, but we are working on that!”

Mooney praised Stronski for an excellent game at midfield, and sophomore Laura Baine for being aggressive and creating scoring opportunities.

Coach Andrei thought it was a very well-played game. “Our defense, especially Maddie Zuber and Juliette Grasso, who played the best game of her career, carried the team.”

Jenna Cohn in front of the Greenwich Academy net

Maggie Sharpe moving the ball in midfield


Rye High Girls’ Tennis

By Melanie Cane

With the league championship on the line, the Garnet girls beat Harrison for the second time 4-3 on October 2.

As was often the case in close matches this season, the match came down to a super tiebreaker win for the second doubles team of senior captains Claire Woodruff and Ainsley Schulz.

And in the end, the Garnet girls won the Conference II League A Championship for the first time since Coach Tony Campbell began coaching in 2010.

After they won the league championship, the girls played in the conference tournament at Harrison High School October 10-12. From conference play, five girls qualified for Sectionals by making it to the semifinals — Niki Francis, who will play singles, and the doubles teams of Catharina Ausfahl/Courtney Lopp and Joci Stone/Steffi Rodilosso. On October 16, Stone and Rodilosso defeated Ausfahl and Lopp 6-4, 6-4, earning the eighth seed. Francis and Ausfahl/Lopp will find out their draw at the beginning of Sectionals, which begin October 23 at Harrison High.

Coach Campbell said, “We had an amazing season. Our team was comprised of talented and delightful players who had great success. With a League Championship and lots of post-season success, there’s more to come.” He added, “My job should be the most sought-after in Section 1 Tennis.”


Catharine Ausfahl and Courtney Lopp

The RHS Girls’ Tennis team

Steffi Rodilosso and Joci Stone

Rye Country Day Football

By Mitch Silver

Quick, who are the Capital Prep Harbor Sharks? If you guessed they’re a football team from Albany or Hartford or Trenton, you’d be wrong. The Harbor Sharks hail from Bridgeport, and, in only the program’s third year of varsity play, they’re already a scary opponent.

How scary? Rye Country Day Head Coach John Calandros put in a new rush-out-of-the-huddle kickoff formation to counteract their speed. “Their two returners have been recruited by Division 1 schools. Together they average a touchdown on kickoffs every game. So we weren’t going to let them do it to us.” Instead, the Wildcats tried six onside kicks, recovering two.

The good news is six kickoffs mean you’ve scored a bunch of touchdowns. But so did the Harbor Sharks, and they scored first. QB Andre Woodson, one of those D1 recruits, scrambled around midfield on a 3rd and 23 before completing a desperation pass at Rye’s one-foot line. Woodson took it in and then made the two-point conversion: 8-0 Sharks.

One play into the second quarter, burly sophomore running back Cullen Coleman shed three tackles on the way to a Wildcat score. The pitch-back on a two-point attempt failed.

That 8-6 score soon became 14-6 when, after a roughing-the-kicker penalty kept a Capital drive alive, Woodson connected on 4th and 9 to his receiver in the right corner of the end zone. A bad snap ruined the PAT attempt. Even so, the Sharks’ fans were playing the theme music from “Jaws” on their iPhones.

Rye Country Day knotted the score with six and a half minutes to go before halftime. First, another Coleman — junior linebacker Cam — used his 4.4 speed to nail Woodson for a 15-yard sack. Then, when the locals got the ball, junior quarterback and co-captain Nick Owens found classmate Justin Mandell wide open at the 20. The two-pointer was good.

Capital Prep scored what seemed like a back-breaker with nine seconds left in the half when Woodson took the ball in on a sneak. The Wildcats stopped the two-point run, but were penalized on the play. Amazingly, they stopped the next try as well, and went into the break trailing by only 20-14.

The Harbor Sharks took the third-quarter kickoff down to the Wildcat 25, but a huge sack by senior co-captain Jack Curry gave his team the ball. Junior co-captain Allen Houston caught a pass, freshman Ben Pearce cut back for another first down, and a little pitchout to Cullen Coleman brought the team even again at 20-all. For variety, a fake kick failed on the PAT attempt.

But the “good hands people” recovered the ball on the ensuing kickoff and Cullen Coleman did the rest, running for a couple of first downs before barreling through for the go-ahead score. Wouldn’t you know it, though, the two-point run was stopped. Still, the home side was up by 26-20.

The defensive turning point of the game came a minute into the fourth period when Justin Mandell when high in the end zone to intercept a Woodson TD attempt. Less than a minute later, Owens found junior Conrad Crakes on a fly pattern along the left sideline, and Crakes went in untouched to make it 32-20. The kick, for once, was good.

Game over? Not quite. A 14-yard Wildcats punt with five minutes left in the game gave the Sharks another bite at the apple, and a little flare pass to the right flat found the end zone 62 seconds later.

Capital Prep had the ball one last time with 90 seconds to go. Cam Coleman hit Woodson as he was looking to throw and Curry wrapped him up for the sack. It forced the visitors to try a desperation pass that Mandell saw coming all the way. “The receiver broke off his route, but I was able to stay with him,” the defensive back said afterwards of his second, game-saving interception. “We were all on this one the whole way.”

So they were. The Wildcats look to go 4-1 on the season tomorrow when they host Hopkins Grammar at 3:30 p.m.

Cullen Coleman carries three defenders into the end zone.

Cam Coleman is all over the ball carrier as Justin Mandell closes in.

Conrad Crakes hauls in a 79-yard TD pass from Nick Owens.