Since assuming the position of No. 1 team in the nation, the Rye girls’ soccer team has done anything but rest on their laurels. The Garnets are annihilating everything in their path, whether they be opponents or records.
Senior captain Lia Bellizzi broke the school record for points in a career October 7 in a 4-1 win over Fox Lane. The All-American entered the contest with 198, and surpassed former teammate Alex Rimmer’s mark of 201 when she scored two goals in the game’s first seven minutes.
Rye continued to roll thereafter and improved to a pristine 12-0 in their 2-0 victory against Harrison at home October 15. The win was their ninth shutout of the season, a statistic that has them on pace to make history. The current Rye record for goals against in a season is seven, and the team has only allowed three so far in 2010, with just three contests remaining before the Section playoffs commence.
“We are determined to hold the goals under six,” said senior captain Catharine Greer. “Going for this makes us even more pumped for each game we have coming up because beating the record from last year would be a great accomplishment.”
Along with Greer, the defensive nucleus is comprised of senior captain Tatiana Saunders, Kelly McRedmond, and Amanda Benincasa. Benincasa noted that before each season the foursome guess how many goals they’ll allow and then work their hardest to finish below that number. Sophomore goalkeeper Lexi Hijazi has also played a role in the potential record-setting performance, filling in for Saunders three times and allowing a single goal.
Hijazi was called into action versus Harrison to replace Saunders, who – along with fellow starters Bellizzi, Kaelyn Lucas, and Carter Talgo – was on the sideline nursing a minor injury. The goaltender made seven saves in the win, which clinched the League championship for Rye, and was a vocal presence who maintained excellent positioning throughout.
Benincasa once again sparked the Garnet offense with a tremendous throw-in. The senior delivered it to Maddy Chabot, who in turn put Rye up 1-0. Chabot also did an excellent job of stifling the Harrison offense, and controlled midfield with Nat Moore. Kirstin Colwell did an outstanding job for the Garnets in midfield as well. She was able to shut down Harrison’s speedy outside while Lindsay Welhoelter showed tremendous poise on offense and midfield. Greer was a force on defense as usual, winning balls and assisting her teammates in transition.
Rye’s second goal came on a penalty kick by Vania Ludman midway through the second half. Alexa DiConstanza’s speed and crafty offensive work created the penalty kick chance, and Ludman put a perfect shot in the back corner of the net for the 2-0 lead.
– Melanie Cane