After a two-week stretch that saw the Rye lacrosse team take on some of the toughest squads in the area, the Garnets had a breakthrough on April 30 when they hosted Rye Country Day School. With a hot start that buried the Wildcats early, the Garnets cruised to an 18-2 victory in a game that head coach Steve Lennon hopes will serve as a blueprint for future success.
Danny Fitzgibbons led with three goals, and Seamus Carroll, Dennis Kennelly, Tommy DeCaro, Billy McLaughlin and Hal Nathans all scored twice as the Garnets built up a 10-1 first-half lead and never looked back.
Carroll also notched three assists in the win.
According to Lennon, the final score indicated that the Garnets were able to maintain their energy throughout the course of regulation. Despite the team’s strong play this season, the head coach admitted that his team will often suffer lapses for prolonged stretches, even in winning efforts.
“I think for us, it is just about putting together four quarters,” Lennon said. “The past few weeks, we’ve played really well for stretches, but then in certain quarters we go through slumps, so it was definitely nice to see us play a complete game.”
Since April 19, the Garnets have gone 2-3, with those three losses coming against powerhouse teams including Pleasantville, John Jay and Iona Prep. But Lennon feels that Rye (8-4) may actually benefit from some tough midseason sledding in the long run.
“Something we’ve been focusing on a lot is dealing with nerves and the mental aspect of things like slow starts,” he said. ”Especially going into the playoffs, in big games, that mindfulness is going to be huge for us.”
One thing that hasn’t been an issue for Rye has been the team’s play on the defensive end. In the team’s last four games, only one team—Pleasantville—has managed to score double-digit points against the Garnet defense. Against Iona, Westlake and Rye Country Day, Rye gave up a total of nine goals.
“I think everyone’s been doing what we’ve talked about all season, playing aggressive, offensive defense,” Lennon said. “We’ve been physical and the way we’ve been communicating back there, you can see that’s translating into low-scoring games.”
The Garnets close out the regular season with four more league games, as they get set to take on Eastchester and Byram Hills this week, after press time, and Fox Lane on Monday, May 7. Their season finale, on May 12, will be on the road against rival Harrison.