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After wait, Gersh a perfect fit at Fontbonne

Rachel Gersh isn’t a fan of waiting.

The junior midfielder transferred to Fontbonne Hall two years ago from Mary Louis to be closer to her Rockaway home, but CHSAA transfer rules kept her from suiting up for her new school as a sophomore. Gersh didn’t take kindly to the idea and felt she should be allowed to play since the Hilltoppers played in the Nassau/Suffolk league and Fontbonne is a member of Brooklyn/Queens.

“It was hard to watch the team play their season last year,” Gersh said. “It was quite annoying actually.”

Bonnies senior star Colleen Ryan could see her frustration, but made sure to ask and reminder her about coming out for the team the following season.

“She said, ‘Yeah, I can’t wait to play.’ Ryan said.

Gersh, who plays her club ball for the Rockville Centre Power, hasn’t wasted any time making an impact at Fontbonne. It had not lost any of its 11 league games this season and is the favorite to repeat as Brooklyn/Queens champions.

Gersh has scored 15 goals and dished out four assists. She said the fact that she was added to a team with established stars like Ryan and Katie Henderson has only made things easier. Gersh has been comfortable since Day One.

She tallied a goal in Fontbonne’s 5-0 win over Bishop Kearney Monday. Gersh controlled a quick pass across the box from Henderson. She scored to the right post while fending off Tigers sweeper Danielle Farrangher to extend the lead to 4-0 in the 47th minute.

“It’s been a good transition,” she said. “I feel like I have been playing here since freshman year.”

She has given the Bonnies an added dimension in the midfield that it lacked in the past, by taking some of the playmaking and ball control duties and pressure from Henderson. She also gives them another natural scorer, who controls the ball with both feet and also sends long through balls up to the team’s speedy forwards. It allows players like Kristiana Padavona, Casey Ryan and Cindy Henderson to thrive in their natural roles.

“She is playing our game and as soon as she came in she was able to connect with us and play our game, fit right in,” Ryan said.

Gersh said she prefers playing more of a passing game, but quickly adjusted to coach Victor Popovsky’s high-octane style. Her presence in the lineup, along with a maturation of the squad’s core is why he calls it one of the best he has ever seen at Fontbonne.

“It was a perfect fit,” Popovsky said. “It was like when you try on shoes and you’re just, ‘Oh wow that’s it. They fit.’ I can compare it to that.”

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