CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – John Jay’s girls soccer team played three games in its opening week, and the Wolves only managed two goals across 240 minutes of play. Fortunately, the defense was solid, and the team made the most of their tallies to finish the week 2-1.
A 1-0 victory over Horace Greeley on Tuesday, Oct. 13, had coach Dave Nuttall praising the season-opening effort—especially the ability to create opportunities. But the victory coming on the heels of Brynn DiGuglielmo’s second-half goal was still a little too close for comfort for the coach.
“We should have scored a few goals in the first half,” he said. “Unfortunately, our front line didn’t get the best angles on the net.”
Even so, Nuttall did concede the oversights to the obvious anxiousness of the first game. That said, the play of Horace Greeley goalie Ellie Handwerger certainly played a part. The Quaker goalie stood tough and cut off a number of leading plays to frustrate the home attack.
At the same time, John Jay had their hands full on the other side of the field. Ramsey Edson’s nifty footwork opened up multiple opportunities for her teammates and made herself enough room to facedown John Jay goalie Ilana Posner on several occasions. The most heart stopping took place just before the half. Edson had the angle on the home side of Posner and sailed it just above the right corner.
Still, bending only matters when it breaks, and John Jay’s Katie LaBriola felt the team rose to the challenge.
“We stayed connected on defense,” she said. “If anyone got behind us, the rest of us were able to compensate and back up.”
However, the game came down to the middle of the field and a favorable bounce of the ball.
“We were able to split the defense at midfield,” said Nuttall, and the ball coming loose, DiGuglielmo was able to break downfield by herself.
The Horace Greeley defense the rearview, the senior captain kept her coach’s words in close proximity.
“He always tells us not to be distracted by the goalie’s bright colors,” she said. “Then you find the corner of the net and stick to it.”
With 30:37 left in the game, the rest was up to the defense.
“Horace Greeley kept the pressure on,” Nuttall said. “Our defense stayed calm and in control.”
When the rare opportunity presented itself against Edgemont on Thursday, Oct. 15, the John Jay defense had the stop gap in another 1-0 victory. Otherwise, the offensive domination upfield amounted to John Jay’s best defense, while the actual scoring also worked in reverse. Defender Katie Labriola scored on a loose corner kick, and the late goal proved enough to secure the victory.
The week closed with another 1-0 nailbitter that went the other way. Lily Jebejian scored early for Bronxville, and John Jay couldn’t crack the scoresheet.
The girls were scheduled to be in action at home against Byram Hills on Monday, Oct. 19, at Ardsley on Wednesday, Oct. 21, and at Greeley on Friday, Oct. 23.