Panthers Relinquish Section Championship to Broncos, 4-1

The Rye Neck boys’ soccer team fell to a bigger, stronger, more technically adept Bronxville unit 4-1 in the Class B Section championship at SUNY Purchase November 6. Seeking revenge for their semifinal loss last year to this same gritty Panthers’ squad — the only time they’ve missed the finals in the last five years — the second-seeded Broncos kept the pressure on from the opening whistle, finally breaking through on a brilliantly-executed corner kick low to the near post at the 25-minute mark.

Responding to cheers from the stands of “Vamos, Rye Neck!”, the underdogs kept things close the rest of the half, leaving the field down by that lone goal. But Bronxville, stronger in the air and stringing passes together on the ground, dominated play throughout, finally putting the No. 4 Panthers away with three goals in a two-minute stretch of the second half.

Rye Neck keeper Orlando Gonzalez made nine saves. Dangerous, speedy striker Ivan Martinez got a late goal to avoid the shutout.

“We lost to a good team,” co-coach Bryan Iacovelli said. “They’re a class act.”

The Panthers began their Class B Section title defense in the first round against Dover. Martinez and David Mendoza-Connor each scored a goal in Rye Neck’s 2-1 victory. Martinez, a junior, netted both goals in the Panthers’ 2-0 shutout of No. 5 Hastings in the quarterfinals, and then scored twice more and added an assist in Rye Neck’s 3-0 win over No. 9 Valhalla in the semifinals.

– Mitch Silver

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