Gerstell Academy junior Emily Messinese praised the “wall” that was the Falcons’ defense against Catholic High School of Baltimore as she exited the field with her girls soccer teammates.

Messinese netted three goals, and two of those goals came 50 seconds apart to help the Falcons shut out Catholic 5-0 at Gerstell on Tuesday. Teammates Kennedy Major and Haley Polk each added a goal and an assist for the Falcons (3-5).


“We did a very good job of keeping our space, so spreading out when we passed it back to our goalie and we dropped it back to the defense so we could get the passes wide and up the sideline,” Messinese said. “We also did a very good job of pushing up with our offense so we made sure we had people in the middle if they needed help to pass back.”

The Falcons, decked out in pink jerseys in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, controlled possession of the game early against Catholic. Messinese kept her patience as she sent a shot toward the goal that curved off her right foot and through the top right corner of the net to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead with 25 minutes, 50 seconds left in the first half.

Messinese scored on a low shot about 50 seconds later to put the host team up 2-0 — a little more than 3 minutes after that, Major took a point-blank shot that connected with the back of the goal and Gerstell led 3-0 with 20 minutes still to play.

Catholic took a corner kick shortly after, and sophomore Jenna Michel got a touch on it, but the Falcons quickly regained possession to push the ball out toward midfield.

Polk found the back of the net off a corner kick with 11:09 to go that gave the Falcons a 4-0 lead at the half.

“I think throughout the season, we’ve started to learn how to work together,” said Falcons defender Abby Morrison. “We’ve progressively been able to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses and help each other.”

Messinese sent a shot over the crossbar about two minutes into the start of the second half and the Falcons took a corner kick with about 28 minutes left and Faith Bissen sent a header in that also went over the top of the goal.

Catholic (7-5) took a pair of corner kicks late in the half, but they were both pursued and pushed out y the Falcons’ defense. Polk chipped the ball past Catholic goalie Cristen Roche (five saves) for a fifth Falcons goal with about 9 minutes to play.

“In these kind of games, we work on things we need to work on and I thought the defense came up pretty big,” Falcons coach Giuliano Celenza said. “We held them to not really have any scoring chances and we focus on it every year, every game on defense. In any game, if they don’t score and we score, we win.

“I constantly harp on them of keeping our shape and I think Abby [does a great job, she’s had a great season anchoring the defense back there so they’ve come a long way.”

Goals: G-Emily Messinese 3, Kennedy Major, Haley Polk.

Assists: G-Major, Polk.

Saves: C-5 (Cristen Roche); G-4 (Sydnee Smith).

Halftime: Gerstell, 4-0.