The Pearl River girls soccer team broke a string of playoff defeats at the hands of Byram Hills with a 2-1 victory over the Bobcats in the Class A quarterfinals last November.
The Pirates will face the Bobcats again when they open their season 4:30 p.m. today at Byram Hills.
"Since I was in ninth grade, they beat us in the playoffs and last year they beat us here during the regular season. We beat them in the playoffs for the first time," Pearl River senior midfielder Marissa Scognamiglio said. "That was a big deal. I know they are excited to play us again."
Both teams are expected to be contenders in Class A again. This time, they will play on the wide artificial surface at Byram Hills.
"It will be a good challenge for our first game," Scognamiglio said.
Pearl River Head Coach Tim Peabody said the game is helpful because the Pirates often have trouble scheduling non-league games against Class A opponents.
"We have a good rivalry with them," Pearl River Head Coach Tim Peabody said. "It also gives us a good idea where we are. Last year (in the season-opening game), we lost a heartbreaker to them, but it meant we were in the ballpark.
"When we get a chance to play one of the better A schools in the section, it gives me a good value judgement of how much work we need to do and where we need to do it."
The girls soccer team is one of four Pearl River varsity squads that will open their seasons today. The others are:
- Pearl River volleyball, 4 p.m. at North Rockland.
- Pearl River girls tennis at home 4 p.m. against Clarkstown South.
- Pearl River boys soccer at home 4 p.m. against Tappan Zee
The boys soccer game matches two rivals who both return strong teams. The Pirates and Dutchmen tied both times they played in 2011.
"That's a big one, with our biggest rivals immediately," Pearl River boys soccer Head Coach Damon O'Keefe said. "They have a lot coming back."
Pearl River's field hockey team will play its opener 4 p.m. Friday at home against Suffern.
The Pirates open their football season 1:30 p.m. Saturday at home against the Rye Garnets, another rematch of a playoff game. Rye defeated Pearl River, 14-7, on the Pirates' home field in the first round of the 2011 section playoffs.
"These guys want to accomplish what the previous team couldn't do. That's beating Rye," Pearl River football Head Coach Jeff Michael said.