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SportsHigh SchoolGirls Soccer

Bonifazio’s heady play helps lift St. Anthony’s in soccer

St. Anthony's defeated Holy Trinity, 2-1, in a CHSAA girls soccer game at St. Anthony's High School on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. (Credit: Newsday / Owen O'Brien)

St. Anthony’s Lauren Hackett has the luxury of a target few girls soccer players have when sending in a corner kick. It’s Jenn Bonifazio, her self-professed “5-foot-12” teammate.

“Well Jenn’s the biggest person on our team, I’m always looking for her,” Hackett said. “I mean, she sticks out like a sore thumb.”

And with the score tied at home against Holy Trinity Friday, Bonifazio got herself toward the center of the net and headed in the eventual winning goal off a corner kick from Hackett with 12:20 remaining in the game in St. Anthony’s 2-1 victory.

“I try whenever I go in to have the mindset ‘This is going to be mine. This is going to be finished,’ ” said Bonifazio. “People are definitely scared when I go in because I am very tall and people fear that for a corner kick.”

Bonifazio anchored a backline which included Alex Milano, Jackie Murphy, Christine Fabrizi and Sophia Iaccino, with Vanessa Cole making four saves. The Friars controlled the ball the majority of the game, but the Holy Trinity defense and goalkeeper Claire Schmitt had a strong game in net with 22 saves.

“Their keeper was just saving everything,” Hackett said. “I don’t know how, but whatever she was doing was working.”

The Titans (4-2) struck first with a free-kick goal from 43 yards by Mia Asenjo, perfectly placing the ball to the top of net and out of the reach of Cole less than eight minutes into the game.

St. Anthony’s (5-0, 3-0 CHSAA) tied the score at 1 when Brianna Passaro followed her own cross and corralled the loose ball for a goal with 9:56 remaining in the first half.

“I was already running in for the rebound because I could tell there were a lot of rebounds early in the game,” Passaro said. “And it was good I was there because the ball came right out to me.”

The Friars continued the pressure on Holy Trinity, but to no avail until Bonifazio’s header.

“You’ve got to give Holy Trinity credit,” coach Sue Alber said. “They came out, they worked extremely hard. Whenever we had the ball, they dropped a ton of numbers behind.”

But in the end, it was Hackett finding Bonifazio to seal the game’s fate. Something the two continue to work on the pitch, but not on the hardwood, although Hackett, a 5-4 guard on the basketball team, wishes that could happen.

“It was definitely a moment we had to finish,” Bonifazio said. “We definitely should have had more goals but that was a big opportunity. Lauren definitely found me on that and we had to capitalize and I’m happy we did.”

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