This year’s Section 9, Class B soccer quarterfinals featured a Rhinebeck doubleheader on Oct. 26 that led off with the three-seed Rhinebeck Lady Hawks hosting the six-seed Millbrook Blazers in the day game at Bard College.
In one of the first serious cold-weather games of the year — temperatures hovered around the low 50s and the goalkeepers bundled up like they were going to school on a snowy day — there was gridlock in the opening minutes. The Lady Hawks broke the mold in the sixth minute, when Rhinebeck’s Michelle Giamportone almost connected on a goal assist; Giamportone would set up for a penalty kick in the seventh minute.
Millbrook was unable to keep up with Rhinebeck on the offense, and relied on their breakway game to try to get something past the Lady Hawks in the first half; Rhinebeck’s defense corked a pair of Millbrook breaks in the seventh and 13th minutes. Giamportone tried to flush another three shots — a 30-yard laser in the 19th minute, a worm-burner in the 26th, and a corner in the 33rd — but in spite of her efforts, Rhinebeck went into the half locked in a nil-nil draw with the Blazers.
A major change came in the second half for the Lady Hawks, though: after rotating sides, Millbrook’s defense was playing in heavy sun. Things got heady early on, with two Rhinebeck players taking hits that knocked them to the ground, but Megan Heller cooled things off for Purple after scoring a goal on what looked to be a throwaway corner kick, but ended up being a one-on-one scoring play against the goalie.
Millbrook tried to even things out, and came out strong on a shooting campaign in the midpoint of the half. Rhinebeck’s defense managed to stifle three shots and then two Millbrook breakaways in the 71st and 73rd minutes. It was Heller who put the final nail in Millbrook’s coffin, scoring again on a corner in the 87th minute and putting the Lady Hawks up 2-0 with no time left on the clock for the Blazers to mount an offensive campaign.
“I thought that, if you look at the stats – we had more corners, we had more shots, we had longer possession, but that doesn’t always win the soccer game,” said Rhinebeck head coach Matt Grande. “At halftime, we had to make some defensive adjustments, so we weren’t just kicking the ball down the field. Megan just got it, every time.”
Rhinebeck’s offense put Millbrook through the crucible; Millbrook goalkeep Aimee Jacques made 12 saves on the day, compared to Rhinebeck keep Sydney Spencer’s four. Lady Hawk Rachel Tigges scored the only assist on the game.
Things weren’t so easy when Rhinebeck faced off against O’Neill on the road on Oct. 28. With a 1-1 score, Purple then fell in penalty kicks to the Raiders and concluded their season with the loss.