The Rye girls’ soccer team dominated from the get-go at Nugent Stadium September 15, and sent the Indians back to Ossining on the short end of a 7-1 thumping.
Five players scored for the Garnets, who attacked early and often. Sophomore forward Vania Ludman put her team on the board eight minutes into the game on an assist from fellow sophomore forward Alexa DiConstanza. Junior midfielder Kirstin Colwell quickly followed with an unassisted goal minutes later, and then junior midfielder Meghan Gormley scored on an assist from senior captain Lia Bellizzi to put the Garnets up 3-0 at the break.
It was more of the same in the second half, as Bellizzi scored twice, Ludman scored again, and senior captain Catharine Greer – a defender – connected on a perfect kick. Assists came from midfielders Carter Talgo and Maddie Chabot, both senior captains, and defender Kelly McRedmond.
“We came out strong and put a lot of pressure on their defense, which allowed us to score early and keep the ball out of our half,” said Talgo. “We had goals from forwards, midfielders, and even a defender. That makes us optimistic about our upcoming games because, like our coach tells us, opponents may be able to mark one or two players, but we have scorers all over the field.”
Ossining’s lone goal came in the final minutes of the game. The near shutout, coming on the heels of Rye’s 1-0 win against Duchess powerhouse Arlington, is credited to the stellar goalkeeping of Lexi Hijazi. The sophomore has filled in for senior captain Tatiana Saunders, who is currently in England playing for their U19 National Team.
“She was vocal, strong, and only permitted one lone goal on a questionable handball in the box that led to a penalty pick,” said head coach Rich Savage of Hijazi’s performance. “We are lucky to have Lexi in the goal.”
Savage was especially pleased that the Garnets improved their teamwork as the game progressed and that the defense, midfield, and offense were connecting on passes.
“It is nice to see many different names in the box score,” he said. “It makes us even a more dangerous team. We were able to work on our defense, attacking from the back and creating for a more versatile offense.”
The coach did, however, note that his team needs to stay focused, work hard, and be ready for some challenging games. Rye’s arduous schedule includes clashes with top-ranked AA schools and a tilt with New Jersey’s Immaculate Heart Academy, currently ranked No. 2 in the country, according to ESPN RISE.
– Melanie Cane