Rye Women’s Lacrosse 2019: A Recap

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Rye Women’s Lacrosse 2019: A Recap

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An amazing ride: from getting their faces painted at the Philadelphia Zoo to having their very own pre- Prom due to a quarterfinal game conflict, the 2019 Rye Girl’s Varsity Lacrosse team went through quite a lot together. However, all of these experiences only brought the team closer as the season progressed, making them, as Junior Catherine Egan stated, “the most tight- knit group a team could be, almost like a family.”

The juniors on the lacrosse team at the lacrosse pre- Prom after their quarterfinal win over Byram Hills

The team’s strong connection off the field certainly made an impact on the field, allowing the girls to play together and really connect as a unit. Junior, Catherine Egan, had a lot to say about this chemistry, stating “Well, for the juniors, we have been playing together for so long and we are all so, so close, so when we stepped on the field it all sort of clicked right away. Also the team as a whole got so close during the season, and that really had an impact on the cohesiveness of our play.” As a result of their strong bond on and off the field, the 2019 Rye Girl’s Varsity Lacrosse team managed a fantastic season, and this article will further elaborate as to why the girls should be very proud of everything they accomplished this spring.

Head coach Dennis Hurlie took a total of 21 girls this season, including one freshman, 6 sophomores, 10 juniors, and 4 seniors. Out of these 21 girls, 5 are committed to play collegiate level lacrosse (Molly Broderick- Trinity, Jordan Basso-

Gettysburg College, Paige Drago- Gettysburg College, Leah Kenny- Richmond, Amelia Cunningham- Colgate)– a great show of the talent on the team’s roster. However, these 5 do not speak for all of the talent on the team. Every single player that was on the 2019 roster is a very capable lacrosse player, enabling Coach Hurlie to field a very strong team throughout the season– one that dominated during the…

The girl’s had a record of 11-5 at the end of the Regular Season

Regular season. Prior to the start of the section tournament, the girl’s held a winning record of 11-5. Some of these 11 wins came from games against very tough opponents, including North Rockland, Tappan Zee, and, the team responsible for ending the team’s season last year, Brewster. Junior Jordan Basso gave me some insight as to how the team was able to win these big games, explaining “We gave it our all every game. We wanted to prove to everyone that we were a competitive, capable team, so I think that really drove us to work hard and win those games.” Evidently, the girls accomplished a lot as a unit during this portion of the season.

That being said, a few individuals reached impressive milestones during the season that are worth mentioning. Among them is Junior Goaltender Amelia Cunningham. Cunningham had a fantastic season, coming up especially clutch in the Section Final game (which I will touch upon later). This past season, Cunningham made her 400th career save for Rye High School– a very impressive accomplishment. Another player who had a tremendous season was Junior Captain Leah Kenny. Prior to suffering a season- ending injury, Kenny tallied her 100th career goal for Rye. The milestone is a terrific showcase of Kenny’s goal- scoring and play- making abilities.

Before the commencement of the Section Tournament (also referred to as just playoffs), the team was awarded the number 2 seed. Being seeded at #2 is very impressive and a great portrayal of the team’s ability, especially considering

The girl’s were seeded at 2 for the Section Tournament

the large number of elite lacrosse programs in Section One. That being said, it is one thing to be named a top seed, but executing and playing like a top seed is a whole other story.

Nonetheless, the team executed. On May 17th (the day of Junior Prom), the girls played Byram Hills at home. When the final buzzer blew, the team came out on top with a score of 9-4. Jordan Basso,the game’s top- goalscorer with a total of 3 goals, had this to say about the game, “We had to push each other to focus on the game rather than Prom. Obviously missing pre- Prom kind of got in our heads a little bit, but we had to stay focused, especially considering at the end of the first half the score was really close. In the end, I think it came down to us finally getting in the right mindset and playing our game.”

In the semifinals, the girls were set to play Tappan Zee– a team they had defeated by only one goal during the regular season. Because of their close regular season matchup, the game was predicted to be very intense and close. To say it fulfilled expectations would be an understatement. At the beginning of the game, Tappan Zee appeared to have the upper hand.  The Red Raiders managed to win the first draw and quickly find the back of the net. Rye fans held their breaths. However, when the halftime whistle blew, Rye managed to find its way back on top, leading the game by a score of 6-5 going into the break. The second half reached a whole new level of intensity as both teams knew they were facing a win or go home situation. It felt as though it was goal after goal, and neither team could hold a solid lead for long. In the end, Catherine Egan’s goal with 4 minutes left in the half proved to be the game- winner. Rye won the game by a score of 10-9, and solidified its spot in the Section Final game.

The team was set to play #1 seed John Jay Cross- River in the title game at Fox Lane HS. JJCR had beaten Rye by a score of 17-5 during the regular season, so many of the girls, including Amelia Cunningham, knew it was going to be a tough game to win, “We were obviously very nervous going into the game as we had lost to them by 12 goals during the regular season.” Nevertheless, Rye proved they were a force to be reckoned with throughout the game, keeping JJCR on their toes and even leading the game by three at times. In the end, however, JJCR was able to break the 7-7 tie in the last 39 seconds of the game, and come out with the win. It was heartbreak for Rye, but it was also a team performance that every coach, player, and spectator would be proud of.

Catherine Egan and the team celebrates one of Egan’s goals

One player who was a standout during the game was Junior Catherine Egan. Egan managed to find the back of the net five times during the title game, and was definitely worthy of MVP honors. Egan had this to say about the game, “I feel like I was just so mentally prepared for the game, and I knew that we had nothing to lose but the game itself. I just reminded myself over and over again how bad we wanted to win this game, and I think that really helped me find my rhythm.” Another player who came up clutch for Rye was Junior Amelia Cunningham. Cunningham made 8 saves for the Garnets, and many of them were made during crucial situations. Personally, I felt as though she was keeping Rye in the game, and almost all of the Rye fans around me seemed to agree. Cunningham had this to say about her performance, “I have to credit my brother because he shot on me almost every day during the season. Also, I felt as though I hadn’t been playing my game recently, so he really helped me mentally prepare for the game and get in the right mindset. Ultimately I think just knowing what was on the line helped me find my focus.”

All in all, Rye had a tremendous 2019 season. The girls achieved a winning record during the regular season, overcame many challenges (from Prom to injuries), and were named 2019 Class C Section Finalists. All the while, they generated many new memories, had a fantastic time, and formed bonds that will continue to grow off of the lacrosse field. Congratulations on a great season, girls!