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The balance of power has shifted. No longer is Midwood the undisputed girls’ soccer queen of Brooklyn. This year, Brooklyn Tech, backed by superb sophomore Niri Halperin, earned that crown with its first division title and a run to the PSAL Class A quarterfinals.
Canarsie wasn’t too shabby either. The Chiefs shared the Brooklyn A−VII division title with Banneker, but won two playoff games as the No. 13 seed, including a shocking upset over No. 4 Arts & Business. Striker Anna Kay Robinson emerged as a star as coach Erica Blom’s team almost duplicated the feat against Francis Lewis in the quarterfinals.
In Class B, Lafayette and FDR had outstanding seasons, but it was New Utrecht, with its talent and depth, making it to the title game, only to fall to Flushing.
OF THE YEAR
F Niri Halperin,
It was hard to believe Halperin was just a sophomore – and not only because of her incredible production. The crafty goal scorer was always cool, calm and collected. Halperin was cerebral in her strikes, something that cannot always be said about someone her age.
She helped lead Brooklyn Tech to one of its best seasons in program history. The Engineers won a division title and beat Brooklyn powerhouse Midwood for the first time. She had the game−winning assist in that game, finding Jean Hanks with two seconds remaining. Tech earned a No. 6 seed in the PSAL Class A playoffs and Halperin was the biggest reason why. She had 23 goals and seven assists in 12 regular−season games and added three goals and an assist in three playoff contests.
OF THE YEAR
The Chiefs, in their first season in the ‘A’ league, were seeded 13th in the playoffs. Despite finishing in a tie for the Brooklyn A−VII title with rival Banneker, no one really gave Canarsie much of a chance in the postseason. Guided by Blom, the squad beat Lincoln in the first round and pulled off a huge upset – one of the biggest in PSAL girls’ soccer playoffs history – over No. 4 Arts & Business.
Canarsie fell in the quarterfinals to No. 5 Francis Lewis, but fought the Patriots hard and had a chance to tie late in the game. The Chiefs might not have been the most talented team, but they had a superb offensive player up top (Anna Kay Robinson) and a top−notch goalkeeper (Nestlyn Matthew). Blom melded the rest together with aplomb. Canarsie’s deliberate, physical style was a nightmare for the opposition.
M Catherine Freeman, Brooklyn Tech
Freeman wasn’t flashy, but she didn’t have to be in the Engineers’ high−powered offense. The senior was incredibly consistent. She had 10 goals and six assists in 12 regular−season games and stepped up her play even more in Brooklyn Tech’s run to the PSAL Class A quarterfinals, scoring three times.
GK Jamecia Forsythe, James Madison
Long, tall and athletic, Forsythe was a pain in the neck for opposing offenses. The 5−foot−10 junior, who also was a star on the Madison girls’ basketball team, was a key to the Knights finishing second in PSAL Brooklyn A−III. She was also a stalwart in net when Madison beat LaGuardia in penalty kicks in the opening round of the playoffs.
M Anna Kay Lawrence, Lincoln
There’s one fact about Brooklyn girls’ soccer: it was the capital of exceptional players named Anna Kay. Anna Kay Lawrence of Lincoln and Anna Kay Robinson of Canarsie emerged as two of the best in the borough. Lawrence was a difference−making playmaker for the Railsplitters, with 10 assists and six goals in 12 regular−season games.
GK Nestlyn Matthew,
Sometimes, Matthew just made things look easy. She frustrated Francis Lewis multiple times with saves in the PSAL Class A quarterfinals in what would eventually be a Canarsie loss. Neither of the Patriots’ two goals scored in that game Matthew’s fault. The athletic and tall keeper was one of the best in the five boroughs.
M Shahamin Nunes, Midwood
Nunes’ number don’t just out. She scored four goals and had three assists, playing in just nine regular−season games. But the senior missed time and was hampered all year by injuries. The athletic and strong Nunes did have two assists in two playoff games. When it comes to pure talent, there were few better than her in Brooklyn.
M Denielle Patterson, Midwood
Patterson was all speed and athleticism down the flanks for Midwood. She created match−up problems for opposing teams. The senior had five goals and three assists in 12 regular−season games and was better in the playoffs, where she tallied two goals and an assist in just two games. The Hornets are not the team they once were when they dominated Brooklyn, but Patterson’s talent kept them in the hunt.
F Akeylah Patrick,
Madison coach Nick Punzone is not a big fan of stars on his teams. But if the Knights had one this year, it was Patrick. The senior, who is also a solid guard on the school’s girls’ basketball team, was speedy and always a threat to score. She had eight goals and an assist in 10 regular−season games and found the net twice in the postseason.
M Jessica Riccardi, Brooklyn Tech
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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