Falcons fall in penalty kick in state title game

Riverdale’s Courtney Taylor kicks the ball to a teammate against Rye Country Day.
Photo by Joseph Staszewski

It was heartbreak again for Riverdale.

A year after falling in overtime in the NYSAIS girls’ soccer final, The Falcons were denied the crown again, this time in a shoot out. Top-seed Riverdale lost 5-4 in penalty kicks to No. 3 Rye Country Day after the teams played to a 1-1 tie through 110 minutes of soccer last Sunday at Manhattanville College. The defeat ends the careers of a strong group of seniors. Four of them won a state title as freshmen and helped their school to three appearences in the final.

“It’s much harder [than last year], especially for all the seniors,” senior midfielder Courtney Taylor said. “This was out last chance to leave our legacy. It’s just a big let down.”

Riverdale (17-2-1) was in control of the penalty kicks after Tayor Regan, Rye’s first shooter, had her shot sail high. Falcons goalkeeper Jenny Kronish, who was fantastic in net all afternoon and was making PK’s all week in practice, stepped up for a kick on the fourth turn.

Her shot skimmed off the top of the crossbar and allowed the Wildcats to force the penalty kicks into sudden death. Emma Giancaterino missed on her attempt and Elizabeth Mastoloni scored to the lower left corner to give Rye the win.

“It’s really tough, especially on our seniors,” freshman forward Katherine Amoresano said.

The Falcons, which tied Rye in the regular season, grabbed the lead early in the second half. Natasha Lowitt’s shot was saved by Rye keeper Francesca Ventura, but freshman Katherine Amoresano was their to kick in the rebound to the opposite post to give Riverdale a 1-0 lead in the 47th minute. Rye Country Day (11-3-4) got the equalizer when Regan scored to the top left corner on a 22-yard direct kick in the 60th minute.

Riverdale may not have made it to penalty kicks had it not been for Kronish, arguably the city’s best keeper. She made nine saves in the contest. Kronish made a leaping grab in a blast late in the first half and made a charging point blank stop in the 50th minute.

“She carried us all the way up here, along with her teammates” Riverdale coach Orlando Osorio said. “She was a huge factor in making this an unbelievable season for us.”

Rye’s physical play kept the Falcons offense from ever getting comfortable. Too many passes we played in the air and they bottled up star striker Amaris Hemmings. Riverdale believed a penalty kick should have been awarded when Hemmings was taken down in the box in the 77th minute, but no call was made.

The defeat ends a unbelievable season for Riverdale. It won the Ivy League title and lost just twice. A state title was again just not to be.

“It’s been the most incredible experience,” Taylor said. “This team is family. I couldn’t have asked for a better time. It would have been amazing to win, but I don’t have any regrets.”

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