MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Rye Neck entered the Section 1 Field Hockey Championships looking to make a statement after an excellent regular season. The Panthers won 10 games and, as a result, earned the second seed in Class C. Ten minutes into its Class C quarterfinal, the Panthers scored and would never relinquish the lead. Elena Hurlbut and Athena Nathan scored, lifting Rye Neck to a 2-0 victory over seventh-seeded Croton Tuesday. The Panthers will host the winner of No. 6 Pawling-No. 3 North Salem Thursday in a semifinal. The Pawling-North Salem game will be played Wednesday. Though the game was postponed for a day because of the weekend snowstorm, the Panthers came in focused. We had one of our best practices of the season yesterday, Hurlbut said Tuesday. Our penalty corners were on, we gelled and everyone was on their game. This is the best season weve had in some time and it has given us confidence that we may have never had before. Hurlbut gave Rye Neck the lead nine minutes and 55 seconds into the game, converting a penalty corner. I had a really good look and I was able to turn and sweep it in, Hurlbut said. Our coaches always tell us that every penalty corner opportunity we need to capitalize on and we were able to do so. Rye Neck registered nine penalty corners in the first half and finished with 24 for the game. Leading 1-0 to begin the second half, Rye Neck began applying pressure immediately, resulting in an avalanche of penalty corners. However, the Panthers were unable to capitalize on them as a result of Crotons defense -- Abigail Gelfand, Erin Ricciardi, Dea Barbieri and MacKay Aziza -- and goalie Kayla Barlow. The quintet thwarted each corner in the second half. Despite this groups determination to keep it a one-goal game, Rye Neck broke through with an insurance goal with 3:42 to play as Nathan converted a feed from Nicole Miller. That goal felt really good because we kept pushing and playing hard on offense and our defense stayed strong throughout, Hurlbut said. To get this win today is the most amazing feeling because we are so together, so determined and so much like a family.
Croton 0 0 -- 0 Rye Neck 1 1 -- 2
Goals -- Elena Hurlbut, Athena Nathan. Assists -- Nicole Miller. Saves -- Cr: Kayla Barlow 13; RN: Yasmina Gourchane 1.
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