Garnets visit Valhalla and pillage Vikings

After posting ties in three of their first five games, the Rye boys’ soccer team got back into the win column September 21, with a 4-1 victory on the road at Valhalla. The Garnets’ defense routinely smothered the Vikings’ offense, and parlayed some contributions from unexpected sources to improve to 2-1-3.

Buck Reynolds, right, scored two goals at Valhalla

Buck Reynolds, right, scored two goals at Valhalla

“That went as well as I could have hoped for,” said head coach Jared Small. “It was good to finally find the back of the net, and I think this is a good reward for all the hard work we’ve put in.”

Junior forward Buck Reynolds put Rye on the board a little over 22 minutes into the first half, when a rebound dropped into his lap on the left side of the goal. Arber Xhema had rocketed a shot at Valhalla’s goalkeeper from the right side which was saved, but it careened right to Reynolds. The opportunistic junior easily punched it in. Reynolds scored another goal just minutes into the second half on a face-to-face showdown with the Viking keeper. Sophomore Greg Stern assisted on the play.

“Buck is a very intelligent player – a cerebral one,” said Small. “He knows how to finish strong.”

Despite Rye controlling possession, Valhalla tied the game at 1-1 in the 30th minute. The Garnets responded with three minutes left in the half. On an assist from junior Chris Livingston, senior defender Adam Larsen followed up his own shot and scored on the rebound to put Rye up 2-1, taking back momentum heading into the break.

Stern, who learned he would make his varsity debut at 2:37 on the afternoon of the game, added a fourth goal for Rye in the 44th minute. After receiving a nifty pass from junior middie Luis Del Pezo, Stern ripped an upper-90s smoker into the top left corner of the net.

“This guy is on the team for one day and he already has more goals than I do,” joked senior co-captain Tim Lonergan.

Lonergan has nothing to be ashamed of. The tandem of the captain and sophomore Ian Robinson – along with many other contributors – provides the Garnets a lockdown defense allowing opponents less than one goal per game so far.

“All year our focus has been and will be to play hard defense together as a unit,” said Lonergan. “If we work hard for the whole 80 minutes and avoid mental and physical lapses, we’re going to be good.”

In 60 minutes of action, RHS junior goalkeeper James Rimmer made one save, albeit a spectacular one. Senior Ricky Rodriguez played the final 20 minutes, and exclaimed afterwards, “I didn’t even get to touch the ball!”

The degree of difficulty increases September 23, when the Garnets visit Fox Lane.

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