Gianna Finz was facing the possibility of another lost season thanks to a torn ACL, but with medical clearance and a little grit the senior is back to help Bronx Science try to reclaim the city title.
The girl’s soccer midfielder already tore her left ACL as a sophomore and was forced to sit out the season before rebounding with a stellar junior campaign. Finz, the reigning Bronx Times borough player of the year, thought she would be sidelined again when she heard a pop in her right leg while playing at college camp this summer. Despite a fully torn ligament she was given the green light to take the field. There was no convincing her otherwise.
“It doesn’t hurt,” said Finz, who has a big white brace on the knee. “I’m still getting use to it, but it feels pretty good.”
Her teammates expect this type of heart from their captain and are finding inspiration in watching her play through the injury. Finz appeared to be moving close to normally during scrimmage games at Riverdale. Fellow senior captain Sydney Shulman, who is returning from her own torn ACL, isn’t sure how Finz is managing to pull off the feat.
“She is the type of person who will play through anything if she is physically able,” Shulman said. “I couldn’t imagine doing it myself. I don’t know what I would do.”
Finz is an even more important piece with the Wolverines being a bit younger and inexperience than in years past. She is part of a strong and deep midfield that will try to help the team avenge its penalty kick loss to rival Beacon in last year’s final. Finz will be able to stay back and help a young defense with veterans Amanda Kahn and Minjee Lee there to control the play.
Bronx Science lost midfielder Maya Greenfield to a torn ACL, but have Shulman and Vita Manergreene there to bolter the offensive unit. Shulman will add some scoring along the outside. Talented freshman Milani Rahman and junior Lydia Wiener have shown an early knack for finding the back of the net.
Bronx Science has some veterans out front, but will be young and inexperience on defense after losing all four starters to graduation. Kaya Scheman, Audrey Circerello and Asha Varma will be asked to step up in front of Jenna Kolodny, the team’s second-year goalie. The sophomore was timid at times last season playing with seniors, but she is more talkative and confident this year.
“This year she is more vocal, more comfortable,” Wolverines coach Annie Eckstein said. “I think because the girls in front of her are he classmates she is more use to working with them and telling them what to do.”
Eckstein said he has been changing the team’s formations and personnel often in the preseason. She hope to find what combination works best for this group. Bronx Science still has its eyes on reclaiming its crown. It gets its first crack at Beacon on Sept. 27 on Randall’s Island as part of a showcase event that also includes the Beacon boys taking on Martin Luther King Jr. after them.
The Wolverines are happy to be on put on a big stage and see it as a chanced to promote girl’s soccer. That doesn’t change the intensity of the rivalry they have with the Blue Demons. Not getting the best of them last year isn’t something they have forgotten.
“I think it is definitely in the back of our minds, use it as motivation to try to build up our season,” Finz said. “We know we don’t want to lose like that again. It’s not something we want to do again.”