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Terriers bounce back with 3-1 win over Molloy

Even before Friday’s league game against Archbishop Molloy at Fort Totten, St. Francis Prep girls’ soccer coach John Jenkins proudly proclaimed, “We’re back.”

The Terriers didn’t go on vacation, but their two-week mental hiatus that started with a tough 3-0 loss to St. Anthony’s and concluded with a disappointing 2-1 loss to Holy Trinity, is officially over.

St. Francis Prep is back, refreshed and, as evidenced from a 3-1 win over the Stanners, playing more as a team than ever.

“We’re putting everything into perspective; mentally, we’re one,” Jenkins said. “We’re all focused and our main objective is to get to the final game.”

According to junior center midfielder Tina Rodriguez, the turning point was a practice last Thursday when the Terriers got down and dirty and worked on slide tackling in the mud.

“It built up our enthusiasm,” the Beechhurst native said. “It got us psyched and ready to play.”

St. Francis Prep (8-3-2) certainly came ready to play against Molloy, which is in its first year of varsity soccer. In the 11th minute Simone Canfarotta beat Molloy keeper Jackie Kimball high inside the near post from 14 yards out to put the Terriers in front, 1-0.

After dominating the first half, St. Francis Prep went ahead, 2-0, four minutes into the second half when Canfarotta passed to fellow senior Laura Doyle and she tapped the ball past Kimball at the near post.

“Laura Doyle works and works, she doesn’t stop,” Jenkins said. “She gives you so much. I’m so happy she scored a goal today.”

Rodriguez, who had a brilliant game controlling midfield, finally scored in the 73rd minute when her low shot from 20 yards out rolled inside the far post.

Despite its dominance, St. Francis Prep couldn’t get more than three goals in the net thanks to Kimball’s spectacular goalkeeping. The junior from Belle Harbor made 25 saves, including several from point-blank range, to keep the Stanners in the game.

“I think we’re doing better but we have to work on a few things,” Kimball said. “They’re faster than us and got behind us a little but I’m really proud, we’re really working hard.”

“She doesn’t get rattled,” Molloy coach Mike McGuire said of Kimball. “Teams are challenging her more and more, she faces a lot of shots but her play has kept us in a lot of games, as was the case today.”

Molloy (2-10) averted the shutout when Lynn O’Connell scored off a scramble in front of the net in the 78th minute.

“It’s a big improvement [from an opening 5-0 loss to St. Francis Prep], but they have superior skills,” McGuire said. “We do the best with what we have, we played competitive with them but they’re a great team.”

A great team, which, according to Jenkins, is finally playing as one.

“In the beginning of the year we were doing well as individuals,” he said. “We went through a terrible spell for a few weeks. We had some growing pains, but finally we grew up.”

St, Francis Prep 8, St. Joseph by the Sea 0. Doyle scored a hat trick to lead St. Francis Prep.

St. Francis Prep 3, Holy Trinity 0. Rodriguez, Doyle and Emily Parra scored for the Terriers, while keeper Christina Aquilon made eight saves for her fifth shutout of the year.

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