VALHALLA — It hasn’t been a typical regular season for Byram Hills, which is accustomed to lofty win totals and deep playoff runs, but the Bobcats may just be peaking at the right time.
After upsetting three-time defending Class A state champ Jericho on Saturday, Byram hammered Section 9 powerhouse Cornwall with a 4-0 win in the opening game of the inaugural Section 1 vs. Section 9 Challenge at Valhalla High on Monday.
“It’s been, without question, the best two games that we’ve played all season,” Byram coach Matty Allen said.
The Bobcats were uncharacteristically sitting at 5-5 midway through the season, but have rattled off four straight wins to thrust themselves back into the Class A section title picture.
Bennett Kramer’s emergence up top has coincided with the recent surge, and he added two more goals and an assist against Cornwall.
“Bennett’s been phenomenal recently,” Allen said. “Beyond leadership of being our go-to scorer and a senior, I think he has five goals in our last three games – and quality goals. He’s taking guys on, and he’s really asserted himself.”
Kramer’s first goal came 20 minutes in, when Ben Weinstein flicked a long punt from goalkeeper Matt Groll and Kramer finished from about 18 yards out.
Three minutes into the second half, Kramer scored again on a cross from Ryan Blum.
Kramer repaid the favor later in the half when he set up Blum for a goal to make it 3-0, and then Ethan Soloway found the net in the final minute of the game.
“I would say our goalie play has been very good,” Allen said. “Matt Groll has really asserted himself in net and Payton Levine has made the transition back to playing sweeper, which has really helped us. He was our leading scorer at the time, but he asked to be moved back. He said he felt more confident to be behind the ball.”
Rhinebeck 2, Bronxville 1: In the inaugural Section 1 vs. Section 9 Challenge at Valhalla, Ryan Euell scored both goals for the Hawks, including the winner on an assist from Adrain Cruz in the 75th minute. Sam Aherne scored a header for the Broncos off of James Burnell‘s corner kick in the sixth minute.
Westchester vs. Rockland Challenge scores from Monday:
White Plains 8, Spring Valley 1