RYE – For one half during a Section 1 Class B semifinal on Saturday, the Rye and John Jay-Cross River field hockey teams played to a scoreless tie Saturday.
A slow, nervous start, the Rye coach and players would later say.
Kind of like the start of their season.
But just as their season has gone, the later it got, the better the Garnets played.
With four players scoring and KJ Langer and Lainie Agosta each recording three assists, second-seeded Rye beat No. 6 John Jay 4-0 in the Section 1 Class B semifinals.
Rye will face No. 1 Lakeland for the Class B title at Brewster High School on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
The Garnets lost to Lakeland – which has won seven straight state championships — earlier this season, as well as in last year’s sectional final.
But first-year Rye head coach Simon Hochstenbach doesn’t believe that means a thing.
“If we played them 10 times we would lose nine. But Tuesday’s going to be that one time. About that, I’m definitely sure,” he said.
“We’re making such an improvement,” Hochstenbach added.
That has translated to six consecutive shutouts.
The Garnets were stymied by Tara O’Reilly’s and Tess Goldrick’s tenacious defensive play in the first half.
But they wasted no time scoring in the second half.
“At halftime we realized our weaknesses and played with more intensity,” said Langer, a sophomore.
“It was a crazy game. Everyone expected we’d be up by at least one goal at the half but John Jay came in very pumped.,” Boston College-bound senior Fusine Govaert said, adding her team was also “mentally not there.”
Player of the game: But Govaert, who had numerous interceptions and a goal and an assist, looked like she was there from the opening seconds.
Turning point: After Govaert’s goal with 25:19 left, Rye dominated. Less than seven minutes later, after John Jay goalie Haley Martinsen’s remarkable dive-right, back-door right-hand save – Kate Stevens scored on a tip-in off a perfect Agosta cross pass.
Stat line: With 14:41 left, Govaert rifled a shot off a penalty corner and Kelly Ott redirected it in.
With just under five minutes to play, Martinsen dove out to stop Govaert. But 30 seconds later, she couldn’t stop Alex Meyer, who batted in a high carom off of Lang’s shot.
Rye led in corners 7-2. Martinsen had five saves and Rye’s Maggie Devlin four.
Quotables: Martinsen, a four-year varsity member and senior who described playing her final game for John Jay as “so hard,” acknowledged the two halves were strikingly different.
“(At halftime,) we were just so proud we did it, (holding Rye scoreless). The second half I don’t think shows our talent.”
”At the beginning of the season we lost 12 seniors and people looked at us as underdogs for a long time,” Govaert said. “But we have come out strong every game and (that) showed again in the second half. … We got together mentally and physically and I think we really deserve this win.”