RYE, N.Y. — For the casual fan of girls lacrosse, defense can be tough to figure out. There’s virtually no contact, a lot of fouls near the cage, and it's generally tough to figure out the method behind the madness.
In Saturday's Section 1 Class C quarterfinal game between No. 4 Rye and No. 5 Bronxville, the Garnets' systematic defense made it look elementary.
Rye's impressive defensive performance and dominant possession game earned it a 14-9 victory over the Broncos (9-7). The Garnets (11-5-2) will host No. 9-seeded Pearl River in the semifinals on Monday.
“(The defense) was just talking to each other the whole game and sliding in front of them,” Claire O’Callaghan said. “We doubled them whenever we thought they were going to goal and tried to shut down their top players.”
Rye only allowed three Bronxville goals from the run of play. The Broncos’ other six goals came from 8-meter shots.
“Our defense really stepped up today," midfielder Scarlett Sulliman said. "We slid to the ball, we doubled the ball, we were at the top of our game. I think we had a lot of successful doubles in the midfield as well, which helped us slow down their offense.”
Rye’s offense wasn’t slowed down to start the game at all. The Garnets scored the first four goals all within six minutes, including two of Emma Brinkman’s game-high six goals.
Rye led 10-7 at the half and opened up a 14-8 lead with just under 10 minutes left in regulation before slowing the game down. Brinkman had a hat-trick in each half.
“We’re being much more patient on offense recently and it’s definitely showing,” Brinkman said. “We’re executing our plays and we know where we all will be on the field at all times. We’re definitely peaking at the right moment.”
Sulliman, who handled defensive duties on one end, also had three goals and two assists on the offensive end. All of this came just hours after her junior prom.
“I had a lot of fun last night, but you have to know what’s important and I didn’t want to be the person to not play well today,” Sulliman said. “I think we all played well actually.”
Bronxville was led by Gretchen Richter’s five goals.
Follow John Malone on Twitter: @MSGV_Malone