RYE – Down a goal at halftime during a Class B quarterfinal sectional game against sixth-seeded Byram Hills, third-seeded Rye needed someone to step up.
While the team’s normal go-to players, Charlotte Tucci and Abby Abate, played well, it was the play of Molly DeCaro, who scored a team-high five goals, that fueled the comeback in a 14-10 win.
“At first, we were rushing because we were nervous,” DeCaro said. “Once the second half kicked in, once we talked about what we needed to do, we were pretty good.”
DeCaro was at her best late in the second half. With Rye up 11-8, she rang off three consecutive goals in a three-minute span, one after beating her defender one-on-one and another one while falling, to give the Garnets a comfortable cushion.
“She’s been getting better all season, and one of the things we talked about at the half was that we needed to make more plays,” Rye coach Dennis Hurlie said. “She put a couple in, we kept her in, she was the hot hand. But we’re not surprised, she’s more than capable of finishing.”
After Rye’s Tucci tied the game at 5-5 to start the second half, Byram Hills built up a two-goal lead with consecutive goals from Noelle Love. After DeCaro scored to cut the lead down to one, Byram Hills got hit with two yellow cards and to play down a player.
The Garnets took full advantage, scoring three goals while a player up to regain the lead. They would not relinquish it for the rest of the game.
“Those two yellow cards hurt us badly,” Byram Hills coach Gail Lozado said. “You can’t come back against Rye when you give up three goals. My kids came back and played hard, but Rye was the better team today”
In addition to DeCaro, Caroline Neave had three goals, Tucci had two goals and an assist and Micheline DiNardo made eight saves.
For Byram Hills, it was another tough loss to a league rival. Rye defeated the Bobcats twice in the regular season, both in tight, one-goal contests.
“We hyped ourselves up around this game, they are our rivals,” Byram Hills’ Love, who finished with a team-high three goals and an assist, said. “We love playing them because we come out hard and play with our hearts.”
Rye will move on to the semifinals and play second-seeded Somers on Tuesday. The Garnets lost to Somers in the last week of the regular season by a score of 15-10.
“We stuck with them in the first half, it was a good game,” Rye’s Tucci said. “I think that offensively, we can do more to break down their defense, and hopefully get some transition goals since that’s what we’re best at.”