BRONXVILLE – As players from both teams, an official and the ball all crowded near the Rye Neck goal line, there was a beat of uncertainty. In that split second, even coaches and players for the visiting Panthers had to wonder whether Bronxville had scored the equalizer with less than four minutes remaining in Monday’s Class B quarterfinal.
Some Broncos were so convinced the ball had crossed the line that a few of them started running forward to celebrate, only to pull up once they realized, yes, Tom Bermingham had stopped them again.
Bermingham’s thigh blocked the dangerous volley by Harry Colvin. He fell on the ball inches from the goal line to help No. 7 Rye Neck beat Bronxville again. The Panthers won 2-0 in a rematch of last year’s Class B final.
“He was amazing. He did everything we needed him to do in the final 10 minutes,” Rye Neck’s Kol Lewis said of Bermingham. “We couldn’t have done it without him.”
The sophomore stopped 11 shots, but did the bulk of his work in the final minutes as Bronxville, the No. 2 seed, pressed for the tying goal.
Donovan Dunning scored just before halftime to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead. Their control over the play slipped late when the Broncos (15-3) brought extra players on the attack. But Rye Neck (12-5-2) held on and is now unbeaten in its last 10 after starting the season 2-5-1.
“Even when we were struggling, they never lost confidence, never got down on themselves,” said Rye Neck co-coach Bryan Iacovelli, whose team will play at No. 3 Edgemont in the semis on Wednesday. “We were waiting for things to click. Halfway through, it did. We’re playing our best soccer now.”
Player of the game: Tom Bermingham, Rye Neck. After his team had controlled possession for the first three-quarters of the game, the sophomore goalkeeper was terrific. The Panthers held a 1-0 lead and faced constant pressure in the closing minutes, but Bermingham delivered key stops, denying a header by Sam Aherne and the shot by Colvin to maintain the lead.
Turning point: Even after Bermingham’s late stop on Colvin, Bronxville continued to press forward. Rye Neck had bled the clock inside two minutes when Lewis finally chipped a ball behind the defense and buried the clinching goal uncontested.
Stat line: Dunning scored the game’s first goal when he punched in a rebound after Bronxville keeper Joe Pepe made the initial stop on Lewis. … Pierre Klur assisted on Lewis’ late goal.
Quotable: “Those last five minutes were some of the longest of my life. When he scored, it was a big relief,” Bermingham said of Lewis’ late goal.