By Dylan Butler
“I was not the least bit happy with the first half,” he said. “They tend to play to their oppositon. For the most part they were standing around, they didn't challenge, they didn't play hard.”
Apparently, that was all the Hilltoppers needed to hear as the team scored three goals in the first eight minutes of the second half en route to a 6-0 win over the Royals at Cunningham Park Friday.
“I'm glad it was night and day that way,” Bruin said. “We played much better in the second half. I didn't say anything in particular, but they responded well.”
Bruin was also pleased with the diversity in scoring, as six different Hilltoppers found the back of the net. In a 4-1 win over Christ the King last week, four seperate girls scored as well.
“Last year, it was the same two or three, maybe four girls,” Bruin said. “Now, it's spread out. It's good to see more than one girl score a goal.”
After several shots that were blocked by the Christ the King defense, Kristin D'Amore picked up the rebound on the far side of the box and blasted it inside the far post to give Mary Louis (4-1-1 Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan) a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute.
In the 32nd minute, Catherine Wauters looked to cross the ball along the endline after a run down the wing, but the ball somehow snuck past Royals keeper Annie Grappore and into the net, giving the Hilltoppers a 2-0 lead.
Lauren Merenes, who Bruin said is the team's best man-marking defender, took the ball at midfield and burst down the sideline past several Christ the King players. Merenes cut into the box and her low shot beat Grappore to give Mary Louis a 3-0 lead.
“In my head, I wanted to score a goal,” Merenes said. “I just made up my mind. I was really determined and I just did it.”
Mary Louis went ahead by four goals just two minutes later when Rochelle Ortega stole a bad defensive clearance, dribbled in on Grappore and put the ball inside the far post.
In the 48th minute Kristina Szempruch found the back of the net when her lob off a corner kick from 12 yards out beat Grappore.
Newcomer Lauren Canton capped the scoring for the Hilltoppers on a gorgeous run as the sophomore took the ball at midfield, split defenders in the box and scored from five yards out to give Mary Louis a 6-0 lead.
“Everybody got a chance to score,” said Liz Gippetti. “There was lot of good passing and everyone played.”
While the loss was certainly disheartening for Christ the King (0-5), Royals head coach Frank Visone said his team has improved a great deal from the first day of practice in September.
“Ninety-nine percent of these girls didn't know how to kick a ball, now they can at least connect,” he said. “Now they know where to stand on the field. I had to run it like a clinic from day one. Only two or three of these girls have played before.”
St. Francis Prep 2, St. John Baptist 0. Meghan Hamilton and Marissa Barriere scored for Prep in their regular season finale Monday at Fort Totten. The Terriers (10-2-1) earn the top seed in the conference playoffs, which begin Thursday.