CLASS B FINAL
No. 3 Bronxville (14-3-2) vs. No. 4 Rye Neck (11-5-3)
When: 6:30 p.m. on Saturday
Where: Arlington HS
Previous meeting(s) in 2014: Bronxville won 4-0 at home on Oct. 6
Key forwards: Bx – Sam Aherne and James Burnell. RN – Luis Galeano and Takuno Nishimura.
Forces in the midfield: Bx – Mike Crawford, Matthew McCloskey (pictured above) and Ricardo Timoney. RN – Marco Andreoli, Pierre Klur and Reed Peterson.
Defensive stalwarts: Bx – Guy McKhann and Matthew Toal. RN – Will Galeano and Noah Klur.
Goalkeepers: Bx – Joe Pepe. RN – Rich Barrios.
Coach speak: “I take nothing out of the first game (on Oct. 6). The first game to me is like we didn’t even play them because they didn’t have four or five kids in the game. You have to take advantage of the scoring opportunities that you get and you have to match Rye Neck’s intensity, coming off of their big win over Valhalla.” – Bronxville coach Donny Lucas
Outlook: While Bronxville was ranked No. 1 in our Class B preseason rankings and has a rich history of recent postseason success, Rye Neck has quietly had a resurgent year and surprised some by reaching this point. I was at the game on Oct. 6 when they met in the regular season, an impressive 4-0 Bronxville win, and if you told me that I was seeing a preview of the section title game, I would have been a bit skeptical. The Broncos dominated that day, but it’s worth noting that Rye Neck was playing without a few starters, including Luis Galeano, who leads the team with 17 goals. He’ll be the guy that Bronxville has to watch closely because the Panthers’ run a good portion of their offense through him. After a relatively slow start, the Broncos have probably been the most consistent team in the class over the course of the last month or so. They have an established weapon up top in junior Sam Aherne (15 goals and five assists this season), an emerging one in freshman James Burnell (eight goals and five assists), and plenty of experience in the midfield and in the back. Their run of success under coach Donny Lucas is difficult to ignore, with Bronxville about to play in its seventh section final in nine years. The last time that they won was in 2010, when the Broncos beat, of all teams, Rye Neck in the section final. Are things about to come full circle? The Panthers have been a great story and seem to be peaking at the right time, but I think Bronxville is ready to end the four-year title drought.
Prediction: Bronxville 1, Rye Neck 0
Photo by Joe Larese/The Journal News