Pearl River girls soccer Head Coach Tim Peabody said it can be tough to predict what will happen with morning games on an off day from school, such as the one his Pirates faced with the 11 a.m. start Monday.
The challenges mount with an opponent like traditional powerhouse Rye, which came into the game with only one loss and recent victories over Class A contender Byram Hills and Arlington, arguably the top team in Class AA.
That made the Amanda DeCourcey's goal just 90 seconds into the contest a huge one for the Pirates.
"You don't really know how you're going to come out of the chute. To come out and get one, it really gets the ball rolling," Peabody said.
Pearl River came into the game rolling, with a tie at Suffern the only game the Pirates haven't won since they started the season with a loss and a tie. Pearl River kept that momentum going with a 3-0 victory over Rye to improve to 8-1-2.
"For us, that's a step in the right direction, to play a good team and to be able to dominate the game," Peabody said. "How we played physically, going after 50-50 balls. We definitely spread the field today. That's been our key all year. When we are able to get the ball wide, we've been successful. We got it wide early and stretched them out in the back."
"It's a huge step forward," said senior Casey Walsh, who got the assist on DeCourcey's goal and scored one of her own. "Our goal is to win sections.
"The team defense was amazing and our attack played awesome today. As a team, we messed up some, but we picked it up. If somebody had a bad touch, somebody else was there to correct it."
Peabody spoke about the importance of his team's senior leadership, but also its young defense. He realized as he spoke that he was including just about everybody who played.
"Our senior leadership really is second to none and that's a big help," Peabody said. "There are a solid 18 or 19 girls playing well in their role. Sometimes it is not as a star, but they are playing well. Maybe it's playing the defensive midfield strong or winning a 50-50 ball."
Pearl River knew it had quality veterans such as Walsh, DeCourcey and senior midfielder Missy Scognamiglio, a skilled playmaker who added two assists Monday. The young defense was the larger question mark, but that group was strong Monday. Freshman goalkeeper Lauren Gallagher made seven saves and her sister Megan Gallagher, a first-year starter at sweeper as a senior, kept the pressure off much of the day.
Walsh enjoyed the victory over Rye, but knew that could just present another challenge if the teams meet again in the playoffs.
"They are a great team," Walsh said. "If we run into them in the sections, they are going to come in wanting to kill us. We have to know that. We beat them 3-0 because we played great. We would have to play great to beat them again."
- Pearl River boys and girls cross country against Nyack and Tappan Zee at Nyack, 4:15 p.m.
- Pearl River boys soccer at Nyack, 4:15 p.m.
- Pearl River girls volleyball at Irvington, 4:30 p.m.
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