RYE — There was a moment of plea and plea every time a possession ended in a tangle of league rivals.
In the vast majority of cases, officials deemed the contact acceptable.
Byram Hills is happy to take on any Class A competitor. Rye is the latest casualty. The Bobcats knocked out the No. 1 team in Lohud’s men’s soccer rankings on Thursday, posting a 1-0 win at Nugent Field.
“That’s how we are,” said Jake Shamus, a senior defender who headed the game-winning goal. “We’ll come right at you.”
And the Garnets seemed pissed off early.
“It took us 40 minutes to adjust to it and unfortunately it was 40 minutes too long,” noted Rye coach Jared Small.
It’s already been a busy season for Byram Hills.
Field renovations at the high school have kept the Bobcats from practicing on grass since late August. They have yet to play a home game. Starting goalie Zach Malter was injured in the final scrimmage of the season.
And two starters on the right side were ruled out Thursday.
“It was a huge game,” said Byram Hills midfielder Yusuf Hafez. “Rye is a league rival and they are tough so we trained for this game. We all worked very hard and did what we wanted to do.
Grit led to the only goal. Determination came into play when they hung on in the second half.
“We’re young, but we’re competitive,” Bobcats coach Matty Allen said. “We have a good balance between seniors, juniors and sophomores. We play hard on the right. They enjoy each other’s company and it shows on the pitch.
In the opening minutes, Byram Hills was faster on the ball, better in the air, more comfortable with the physicality of the game and ready to celebrate against another ranked opponent.
The Bobcats knocked Somers down last week.
“We’re a bit on the defensive,” Hafez said. “That’s how you win games, especially games like this where they are strong going forward.”
Aidan Cogan entered the starting lineup when Malter got injured. He posted a fourth shutout, making a few critical saves in the streak after the Garnets began to organize.
“He’s been a huge part of our success and we can’t thank him enough,” Shamus said.
By the numbers
Byram Hills (5-0, 2-0): Shamus was standing near the far post when a throw-in from Bryan Roden glanced over the head of a team-mate and headed towards him. Cogan made five saves.
Rye (5-1, 2-1): Kai Haesslein made seven saves.
“I loved the way we played in the second half,” Garnets coach Jared Small said. “If we had that mentality, play the ball fast, play the ball on the ground, I think we could have gotten a better result.”
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