Archive for the ‘Panthers’ Category

Spring Season Athletes Take a Bow

June 28, 2011

When the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name
He marks not that you won or lost, but how you played the Game.

—   Grantland Rice, 1908

The One Great Scorer will have good things to write about the spring seasons enjoyed by our local varsity teams. Some struggled; others went undefeated. Every team had moments to savor and remember.


Rye Neck Drops 3-1 Heartbreaker to Huskies in Extra Innings

April 11, 2011

The defending Class B finalist Lady Panthers lost a tough 3-1 game at home to Harrison April 5 despite All-State pitcher Jessica Calvini’s 16 strikeouts.

Jessica Calvini

Alijah Webb had two hits and two ribbies for the visitors, including the go-ahead single off Calvini’s hand that drove in Jenna Webb in the top of the ninth.


Optimism Reigns for Rye Neck Spring Teams

March 25, 2011

As the weather warms, five Panther programs work towards that season-ending moment in the sun.


The giant killers are back! Last year’s Class B Section finalists finished the season with a sterling 17-7 record. But this year they’ll be up against larger schools in every league contest they play.

“We need to work hard each game,” said head coach Joan Spedafino. “We lost our second baseman and right fielder to graduation. The good thing is, these girls are dedicated to softball both on and off the field and we look forward to a successful season.”

Jessica Calvini returns to the mound this spring.

The Panthers’ strength starts on the mound with returning All-State player Jessica Calvini. The first-sacker is Marissa Bella, All-Section Honorable Mention. The left side of the infield boasts vets Nicole Pineda at shortstop and Nickole Morgan at third.


Panthers Relinquish Section Championship to Broncos, 4-1

November 19, 2010

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.


Ivan Martinez, The Athlete Behind Rye Neck’s Soccer Renaissance

November 4, 2010

Ever since he first suited up in black, blue, and white as a member of the Rye Neck boys’ soccer team, Ivan Martinez has been a human highlight reel for the varsity squad.

In 2008, as a freshman, Martinez led the Panthers in scoring and netted the game-winning overtime goal in the Section quarterfinals that propelled the scrappy underdogs all the way to the finals. Martinez overcame a bout with mononucleosis to return late in his sophomore season, giving Rye Neck the push they needed to win their first Section title in 10 years. In the opening round of the State tournament, Martinez – mired in heavy traffic – dished the assist that put the Panthers in the Regional final.

Ivan Martinez

Now a junior, Martinez has the reigning Section champions back in the playoffs, hungry to defend their title and return to States.


Rye Neck Doubles Team Defies Odds, Advances to Section Quarterfinals

November 4, 2010

“Just happy to be here” isn’t an endearing term in sports. It’s used when a team has advanced much farther than anyone – even the squad itself – expected them to, but right before they’re smashed by a high-caliber opponent in a championship-level round.

And while Rye Neck’s doubles team of Diana King and Ekim Buyuk – both eighth graders – were visibly ebullient October 28 at the Section 1 Tournament in Ardsley, it was clear they never received the memo about rolling over.

Diana King

The young Panthers squared off with Nyack’s Kristen Soeder and Clarissa Armada in the first round, and battled to a 3-3 score in the first game. What was an even contest turned from that point, however, as Buyuk and King secured nine straight games to move on to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-0 victory.


David Nearly Slays Goliath in Rye Field Hockey Clash

October 7, 2010

With one minute left in October 5’s field hockey game between Rye and Rye Neck, the Garnets possessed a 20 to zero advantage on short corners, and had forced the Panthers’ goalkeeper to make 23 saves. Despite statistics so overwhelmingly in favor of Rye, the numbers on the scoreboard – the only ones that matter – read 1-1.

The Garnets finally pulled ahead with 42 seconds left, when junior Emma Brinkman banged a shot past Yasmina Gourchane in heavy traffic to secure a 2-1 victory at Rye Neck. Brinkman’s goal, her second in the game, preserved Rye’s undefeated record (8-0).

“We came out flat in the beginning, but our girls didn’t give up until the final whistle,” said head coach Emily Fitzgerald. “It was the first time all season we trailed in a game, so it’s good that the girls got to know that feeling. They had to dig down deep while playing on a wet field.”


Rye Neck Father Spearheads Fundraising for Pilot Lacrosse Program

October 7, 2010

The Rye Neck Union Free School District boasts many academic and athletic endeavors for their students to pursue. Lacrosse, however, is not one of them.

Jay Gottlieb, a father of four Rye Neck students, is hoping to change that. In a few short weeks he has raised over $25,000 of the $30,000 the district told him is necessary to fully fund a pilot program for boys’ and girls’ modified teams in the spring of 2011. Now, Gottlieb is hoping to make up the difference as the October 31 deadline for fundraising approaches.

“My oldest son, Daniel, has grown up playing lacrosse in local leagues since he was 7 years old,” said Gottlieb. “He’s in eighth grade now, and lacrosse is over for him without a program. But this is bigger than a few kids. This is the fastest growing sport in America and one that could have 50-60 kids involved every spring. It gives them even better opportunities to get into college, too.”

The proposed program, to be funded entirely through donations, would offer seventh and eighth grade students the chance to play lacrosse this spring. All funds are being held by Gottlieb until the target is met, at which point he will turn them over to the Rye Neck Booster Club Special Purpose Account. If the $30,000 mark is not reached, the money will be returned.

To assist, contact Gottlieb at 917-842-4078 or

Eighth Grade Standouts Propel Panthers to Perfection

October 4, 2010

It’s no stunner that the Rye Neck girls’ tennis team is atop the standings with a league record of 4-0. They were among the elite squads in 2009. The twist this season – get ready to eat your heart out, M. Night Shyamalan – is that the Panthers’ top two players, Ekim Buyuk and Diana King, aren’t even in high school yet.

Ekim Buyuk

And while Rye Neck’s neophyte eighth graders aren’t quite “unbreakable”, they’ve been pretty darn close so far in 2010. Buyuk and King rotate between first and second singles, and led the way in the Panthers’ 5-2 defeat of visiting Croton-Harmon September 29. Buyuk kept her undefeated mark intact against the Tigers, besting Hannah Moy 6-2, 6-3 in a first singles duel.


Panthers Edge Gryphons in Early Season Thriller

September 23, 2010

Rye Neck field hockey’s 1-0 victory over Holy Child had all the enthusiasm and intensity of a championship game. The only difference was that the spirited contest was played not in chilly November at a neutral location, but September 20 as the Panthers’ home opener.

Sophomore Athena Nathan banged home a rebound in front of Holy Child’s net 3:15 into the second half for the game’s only score. Jenna Cohen had the assist. If not for a heroic effort from Rye Neck goalie Yasmina Gourchane, however, the outcome could have been different. The junior fended off a barrage of shots in the contest’s final minutes, including a blast from Leslie Infanger that forced Gourchane to fully extend her left leg into the air for the kick save. She finished with six stops, all made in the exhilarating second half.

Yasmina Gourchane

“We worked on Yasmina’s ability to be aggressive in goal,” said Rye Neck head coach Nicole Bolnik. “ At the end of the game she implemented everything we taught and kept her head in the game while Holy Child pounded the circle. She did everything she needed to do for us to win.”