While the St. Hubert soccer team continues to iron out its early season kinks, one of its chief Northeast Philly rivals is soaring.
With Monday afternoon’s 2-0 statement win on the road over the scuffling Bambies, the Ragdolls of Archbishop Ryan stayed unbeaten at 9-0-1. More impressively, Ryan Haney’s young team isn’t just winning … it’s dominating.
After a 1-1 tie to kick off the season, Ryan has won nine straight, outscoring its opponents by a stunning mark of 44-2. Sophomore goalie Jazmin Gonzales has recorded six shutouts between the posts, while a defensive unit consisting of a freshman, a sophomore and a junior has smothered opposing offenses. Everything has gone Ryan’s way so far and they have won in every way imaginable, from blowouts to tight league decisions, all of which has left the team’s head coach very impressed.
“We’re getting chances and we’re putting them in the net,” Haney said. “But really, our defense is why we’re here. They keep us in games by not giving up opportunities and keeping play in front of them. They’re really handling their business right now.”
Against the Bambies, the game remained scoreless until about five minutes left in the first half, when Scarlett Walsh intercepted a ball in the St. Hubert zone and found forward Brittany Robinson for a tap-in. In the first 10 minutes of the next half, Ryan employed some pretty end-to-end passing up the field, where Robinson ultimately found Briana Egenlauf in front, who slid the ball into the corner past freshman keeper Emily Jeffrey. From there, the Ragdoll defensive unit shifted into normal shutdown mode.
“What I was most happy about was that they didn’t get a ton of chances,” Haney said. “We kept them in front of us and were never playing back on our heels. We’d win the ball, then possess it. When you’re up 1-0 and controlling the ball like we were, it can seem like it’s 10-0 to the other team. If you control the ball, then they can’t score and we took control of the game.”
The Ryan win helped deny longtime St. Hubert coach Mick McGroarty his 400th career victory, at least for the time being. After the game, Haney, spoke glowingly of his coaching elder, saying, “The only thing that could have slowed Mick down was if they closed the school. He’s the leader of the Catholic League from the girls’ side. He’s been there since day one, and he just gets it. He’ll get his milestone … I’m just glad it didn’t happen against us.”
Of his goalie’s stingy play, Haney had nothing but positive things to say.
“She doesn’t make it more difficult than it has to be,” Haney said of Gonzales. “She catches crosses, dives on top of balls, you name it. She’s only a sophomore, and right now she’s playing really well. She’s answered the bell and has been very impressive. She’s a big part of our bright future that’s playing out right now in front of us.”
As for the win, Haney said the Ragdolls can’t dwell on it, especially against a Lansdale Catholic squad that Ryan hasn’t defeated in three years. (That game was played after the Times went to press.) But he knows a big win over a chief rival can do wonders for any team.