By MIKE SMITH
After locking down a signature win against Byram Hills on Sept. 29, the Rye Garnets kept the ball rolling against Harrison two days later, beating their league foes 4-1 in a rain-soaked Thursday night game. Although it would have been easy for some teams to have a letdown after knocking off the top-ranked team in New York state, the Garnets came into the rivalry game with enough focus and tenacity to improve to 6-2 on the year.
Bernardo Hammes had two assists in the win, and Leo Gomes, Will Colwell, Tommy Gates and Andrew Graham all found the net for the Garnets. According to first-year Garnet coach Sal Curella, Rye’s balanced offense has been its calling card so far in 2015.
“I think it’s been the main reason for our success,” Curella said. “Every game we have different goal scorers, and the depth we have with our starters and our reserves has been a big part of creating such a successful team.”
With rain throughout, Curella said, Rye had to approach its game against the Huskies a bit differently than usual. The more conservative strategy, however, did little to curtail the surging Garnet offense.
“We generally like to build out of the backfield, but it was so rainy that we tried to limit our touches back there,” Curella said. “We tried to just get the ball out to our midfielders and we needed to play just a little bit simple on the back end.”
With two wins this week, Rye has vaulted itself into consideration as one of the top teams in Class A. Its 2-1 win on Tuesday over a previously-unbeaten Byram Hills, ranked No. 25 in the nation, was the victory that marked Rye’s arrival with an exclamation point.
“Anytime you come off a big win, you don’t want to act like you won the World Cup, so we just had to get our head back into our mode,” Curella said. “And to go in there against Harrison and put four goals on them was big for us.”
The Garnets will play a grueling schedule over the next week, with games against Spring Valley, Eastchester and Port Chester all looming. As his team gears up for its final push before playoffs start, Curella said he is hoping to see the Garnets raise their game.
“We need to capitalize on the chances we’re given because as the teams get tougher, the defense tightens up,” he said. “But right now, there’s not much that I would change. We just need to keep our mindset on the goal