A healthy Meleni Rahaman was the title turner for Bronx Science in more ways than one against Beacon.
The sophomore forward missed half the season with a mild tear of her left hamstring and hadn’t regained enough chemistry with her teammates in the Wolverines’ second regular loss to the rival Blue Devils.
Bronx Science coach Annie Eckstein’s confidence in Rahaman allowed fellow striker Lydia Wiener to move to defense for the championship game against top-seeded Beacon. The move paid off.
Rahaman scored twice, including the winner in the 45th minute, and Wiener was a force in the back in the No. 3 Wolverines 3-1 victory in the PSAL Class A final at St. John’s Belson Stadium last Saturday.
“It was really hard getting back into the game because I didn’t know how to condition myself to the new team and then everything got better,” Rahaman said. “I feel so happy we got to the finals and won. It’s really rewarding.”
It is the fifth straight meeting between the two schools in the championship game and Bronx Science’s first crown since 2012. This crown was a little sweeter because of what it took for the Wolverines (16-3-0) to claim it. They lost three times during the regular season and needed a late goal and overtime to get by Francis Lewis in the semifinals.
“It’s been a great season just to be able to overcome whatever was put in front of us,” Eckstein said.
Like it did back in 2012, it was her club that put the pressure on Beacon (17-1-0) early. Rahman scored 32 seconds in to the game to make it 1-0. Her shot is hit off the bottom of the crossbar. It was not corralled by the Beacon keeper and managed to just roll over the goal line, the referee signaled. A quick score was important for Bronx Science’s confidence.
Beacon pulled even at 1-1 when Mikayla Alcorn connected on a 25-yard strike in the 30th minute. Rahaman struck again right after the break. She took advantage of a Beacon defensive mistake and chipped the ball over the keeper’s head from just inside the top left corner of the box. Melina Asteriadis added a late got to provide the final margin.
“Rahaman, we had our hands full with her,” Beacon coach Kevin Jacobs said.
His team struggled to crack through the Bronx Science’s defense that was bolstered by the aggressive place of Wiener and goalie Jenna Kolodny, who charged to cut off scoring chance from Willa Molho in the 60th minute. Wiener, who has not played defense she was eight, cleared a shot off free kick off the goal line in the 63rd.
“The mentality is use your speed and don’t let anything by you,” Wiener said.
Bronx Science did not let another chance at a title get by it and it has Rahaman to thank. She hoisted the trophy for the first time after watching her sister Miami do twice during her career with the Wolverines. This time it was the other way around with Miami in the crowd.
“People expect a lot from me because my sister was really good,” Rahaman said. “I’m really happy I lived up to expectations.”