Katie Henderson played a cruel joke on her coach, Victor Popovsky, on Sunday night. The junior midfielder on the Fontbonne Hall girls soccer team sent Popovsky an e-mail saying she couldn’t make the Bonnies’ game against rival Bishop Kearney on Monday.
As soon as he received the message, the coach called Henderson’s cell phone and her home number. He knew how important she would be against the Tigers, who beat the Bonnies in last year’s CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens championship game.
“I almost had a heart attack,” Popovsky said.
Henderson was just kidding, of course. And Monday she showed exactly why Popovsky freaked out so much. Henderson had a goal and two assists to help Fontbonne to a 4-0 win against Kearney at the Verrazano Narrows Complex.
“I just wanted to scare him,” Henderson said with a smile.
Fontbonne (2-0) got its own scare early in the game. Kearney (1-1) controlled possession for the first 12 minutes and the Bonnies, who beat the Tigers twice in the regular season in 2008, were having flashbacks to last year’s 2-0 loss. But a goal by star junior striker Colleen Ryan off an assist from Henderson gave Fontbonne relief.
“This is what happens with us,” Popovsky said. “Once we score the first goal, the others follow.”
Indeed they did. Ryan scored again in the first half and earned a hat trick with another goal off a Henderson assist in the 66th minute to make it 4-0. Henderson got on the board herself in the 64th minute.
Popovsky pushes five girls up to attack. The third-year coach is not a big fan of defense.
“I’m an offensive coach,” he said. “We play very offensively. We control the tempo of the game.”
With players like Ryan, Henderson and forward Kristiana Padovona it can be easy at times. Playing Kearney never is, though. Tigers coach Charlie Candela bemoaned his team’s early play and thought the game could have been different if it scored a goal then.
“If you can’t score, you’re going to get punished,” he said. %u2026 “My forwards didn’t finish today. They should have finished three or four times.”
The Fontbonne girls know exactly how they feel. The Bonnies had plenty of chances to find the net in last year’s title game, but never could. Popovsky called Kearney’s first goal then “shocking,” because his team had not trailed all of last season.
“It was just terrible,” Henderson said. “I think everyone gave up.”
Not this time. Fontbonne was pumped up. The Bonnies begged the bus driver to blast music on the way to the field, but he refused. The players took their frustration out on the field.
“That was our revenge today,” Henderson said. “That’s what we wanted to do last year.”
©2009 Community News Group
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