Riverdale tops Horace Mann to claim Ivy League girls’ soccer title

Emma Giancaterino found the ball on her left foot in the box and wasn’t sure if she could put enough power on the shot to score.

Luckily for Riverdale she ripped one past the Horace Mann keeper in the 59th minute to lift the Falcons girls’ soccer team to a 2-1 Ivy League clinching victory over visiting Horace Mann last Saturday. Giancaterino said she felt much better about her decision to shoot after she saw the ball go into the net.

“It was pretty awesome, “she said. “It was going toward my left foot and I thought, ‘Oh shoot do I take it with my left foot?’ and I decided to take it.”

The goal came after Riverdale spent the majority of the half defending. In the 49th minute, Sydney Watson had a chance to put Horace Mann ahead, but Riverdale keeper Jenny Kronish denied her shot. The Lion’s Taylor Sanders made a move around the defender, but her shot sailed over the net seven minutes later.

The Horace Mann (9-3-0, 7-3-0) also generated good chances after the go ahead goal, but couldn’t convert. Horace Mann had its two best chances to tie the scoe in the final two minutes. Rachael Trebach had a free kick outside the box to the right. Ali Davis directed her shot on net from point blank range, but Kronish kept it out. Then in the final minute, Sophia Fikke found Trebach at the top of the box on a corner kick and she fired the ball over the net. Riverdale coach Orlando Osorio was confident his defense was going to be able to make the right plays to give his team a win.

“My defense is the best defense in the Ivy League,” he said. “Our defense has allowed four goals this season. They are solid. They know each other very well.”

Horace Mann coach Tim Sullivan, who saw his team beat Riverdale 1-0 in their first meeting, felt his team didn’t play at the top of their game this time around.

“I thought we played okay,” he said. “We didn’t play our best soccer. We missed a lot of passes. Riverdale score when they had the chances and give them credit.”

Riverdale (11-1-0, 8-1-0) jumped out to an early 1-0 led when Amaris Hemmings made a move from 18-yards out and beat the keeper. It provided an emotional boost at home after being shutout when the teams met the first time.

“It was a nice way to set the tone, with that goal,” Hemmings said. “We knew we could win this game and needed to win.”

Horace Mann answered back with a goal from Watson to tie the scorer at 1-1 heading into halftime. Giancaterino finally broke the deadlock when he trusted herself enough to shoot. The win and the Ivy League title were big for Riverdale but it knows there is still more work to be done if it is going to bring home a NYSAISAA crown.

“We came into the season with the goal of winning the Ivy League,” Hemmings said. “Now that it’s accomplished we are not done yet. We have more games and states coming up, so we are going keep on doing what we are doing.”

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