MONARCHS 3, WHALERS 1
It didn’t take long for the McGann-Mercy girls soccer team to match its win total from a year ago.
After Monday’s 3-1 win over visiting Pierson/Bridgehampton, the Monarchs improved to 2-0 in what has the potential to be a promising season for a young team.
“I’m confident this year,” said second-year head coach Meaghan Macarthur. “I don’t know what the other teams are going to bring, but I know what we can bring.”
And that’s a team of mostly young players who are quickly developing chemistry on the field. After a non-league win over Amityville to open the season, the Monarchs already made big strides in their play in Monday’s League VII opener against the Whalers.
Two freshmen provided goals for Mercy against the Whalers. Siobhan Merrill put the Monarchs ahead 2-1 in the 65th minute on a beautiful play that started with Claire Sullivan in the middle. A junior midfielder, Sullivan fed a pass to junior Meghan Bossone, who deftly touched it over to Merrill who one-timed it into the goal.
“Get it and go,” Bossone said. “Didn’t really have time to think.”
Bossone and Sullivan are part of a limited group of upperclassmen who are getting playing time for the Monarchs. A large portion of the starting lineup consists of sophomores and freshmen.
But Bossone and Sullivan, who are both three-year varsity players, have plenty of chemistry together that paid off Monday.
“Her and I work very well together,” Bossone said.
As a forward, Bossone was in on a number of scoring chances and she delivered a goal of her own three minutes after Merrill’s goal to ice the game. She drilled a quick shot inside the left post. Bossone said she thought it was headed wide, but the shot was right on target.
“She’s got a strong foot,” Macarthur said. “But she also works well with her midfielders and whoever her partner is up front. They communicate not only verbally, but non-verbally.”
The Monarchs are also expecting big things from the freshman duo of Merrill and Tori Barlow. They both scored their first varsity goals Monday.
“I have high hopes for them coming in as freshmen,” Macarthur said. “They’re potential and skill already is more than a varsity coach could hope for in a freshman.”
Merrill and Barlow played together in junior high where they honed some of their skills together that they can now display on varsity for the next four years.
“You only expect them to get stronger as the years go,” Macarthur said.
Barlow scored in the first half to give the Monarchs a 1-0 lead. Pierson tied the game early in the second half on a free kick. The ball lofted in directly at goalkeeper Julianna Cintron-Leonardo, but as she reached down to grab the ball, it slipped through her grasp and squirted past her for a goal.
It was a rare miscue for Cintron-Leonardo, a sophomore who’s already a varsity veteran.
“It happens and you got to bounce back from it,” Macarthur said.
The Monarchs had a few chances to expand their lead in the first half. Merrill sent a crossing pass from the right side to junior Katrina Thompson for a one-timer that was stopped by the outstretched arms of Pierson goalkeeper Hayley Lund.
The Monarchs have a larger than usual roster this year after deciding to not field a junior varsity team. Macarthur said rather than fielding two small teams, where any injuries would make it difficult to have a full roster, they opted to go with one team.
“We thought it would be more beneficial to have a full team playing competitive against each other in practice rather than a small team,” she said.
So far, the chemistry is there.
“We got really close really quick,” Bossone said. “And we work well together.”