Fontbonne Hall’s Rachel Gersh heard about the new league format, but thought the only change was added games against teams from Catholic High School Athletic Association Staten Island. She was intrigued to learn that her old school, Mary Louis, was rejoining Brooklyn-Queens as part of the new intersectional setup.
The first meeting didn’t go as Gersh and the Bonnies, the defending champions, had hoped. The Hilltoppers pulled out a 2-1 win in both teams’ league opener Tuesday at the Verrazano Complex. The senior midfielder transferred from TMLA after her freshman year to be closer to her Rockaway home and sat out as a sophomore because of transfer rules. The loss was the Brooklyn school’s first to a league opponent since the 2008 title game.
“I definitely wanted to beat them,” Gersh said. “It’s a disappointment that we didn’t beat them.
Fontbonne (0-1-0) played the game with just 12 active players because of injuries to forward Casey Ryan and defender Kristen Corral. Many of the players who would have been subs in the past are on the school’s newly formed 11-girl JV team because of the new league format. The Bonnies were down to 11 when Alyssa Delia didn’t feel well in the heat. She was forced to go back in the game in the second half when Marissa Scotto began cramping.
“They were constantly putting in free legs and we didn’t have any subs at all,” Gersh said.
Bonnies coach Victor Popovsky said he and athletic director Donna Schirripa are going to try to get more kids to join the teams so that both will have subs in case of injuries and in an effort to have the players properly hydrated. Fontbonne and Mary Louis (1-0-0) were tied at the half before TMLA got an early goal after the break.
“I told the girls the chances we had [in the first half] were 100 percent goal-scoring opportunities,” Popovsky said. “If you don’t score they are going to score on you.”
He and his team, which plays rival Christ the King on Wednesday, are expecting their second meeting with the Hilltoppers to be different with Ryan and Corral back and hopefully a few reinforcements. Gersh would certainly like to get a win over her old school.
“When we have our key players back and have a couple of subs and when it’s cooler out at the end of the season I think we are going to beat them,” Gersh said. “I don’t think they are anything that’s not reachable.”