The Rhinebeck Hawks lacrosse team is in their first season as a varsity club and doing their best to swing it against tough Section IX Class C competition. The team didn’t even all have matching uniforms until after the first week of play, and they’re still trying to get into the swing of things—they haven’t yet chalked up a win.
And so it went in their first match against divisional foe Rondout Valley at home. The Hawks took a beating, 15-0, but they gave it a cheering shot, particularly in the second half.
Rhinebeck found themselves down 0-4 coming out of the first quarter, their truest shot coming with :44 left on the clock, a rip from attackman Sam Every that hit the crossbar of the goal. Where Rhinebeck’s offense was shy, their defense was overeager. Against a strong Ganders offense, the Hawks had a habit of shifting into double teams too quickly and allowing an open man in the middle, a strategic glitch that led to two Ganders goals at 10:51 and 9:59 in the second quarter. They were the first two goals of what would be a long quarter for Rhinebeck, which came out of the period in a 10-0 pit.
But you can’t keep a good Hawk down. After halftime, Rhinebeck’s bench decided to change the tone of the game, cheering just about every defensive stop, made pass, and saved goal by second-string goalie Austin Brown. The sound and the fury was on Rhinebeck’s side until the waning minutes of the quarter, when a Rhinebeck check to the head led to Rondout Valley’s point of the period, a man-up goal at 2:37. The Ganders would bury another two buckets in the quarter within :16 of each other, one at 1:34 and the other at 1:19, and kill the ‘Ra-Ra’ attitude until deep in the fourth.
The Ganders sank another two goals in the final quarter, one at 10:45 and one at 8:02. The Hawks made a few runs at the net in garbage time, propelled again by the return of cheers from the Rhinebeck bench, but they couldn’t manage a basket and sent the Ganders home with a 15-0 victory.
“We came out not necessarily a little flat, but we came out in a 3-3 zone offense, and they exploited it easily with the 1-4-1. They’re a good team, they knew how to get us right off the bat.” Rhinebeck head coach Will Bussert, told the Observer. “So the goal of the second half was just to have fun.”
“When you end the game with smiles on your face, that’s the best thing that you can ask for,” he added.
Rondout Valley’s Steven Swift led all scorers with four goals, and led in assists with five.