Notre Dame Prep’s Gemelli honored with All-State nod

By: Jacob Herbert | Rochester Post | Published July 1, 2019

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PONTIAC — In a year when she thought she didn’t play her best soccer, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep’s Itala Gemelli was still able to earn a spot on the Division 2 first team All-State squad.

In her junior season this past spring, Gemelli netted 23 goals and 11 assists in 19 games played.

“I was really honored, most of all,” Gemelli said. “Honored that my coaches were fighting for me and my family was fighting for me. I think there were a lot of girls on our team who deserved to make it over me or with me, so I was really proud and excited when I got it.”

Along with the honor of earning All-State, Gemelli said the award meant even more to her because of the pride it brought to her family.

“I was happy to make my family proud, especially my mom (Rebecca),” she said. “She’s been there through every soccer game; even the ones we know we’re going to win 12-0, she wants to go to those games. To make All-State makes me feel happy that I can make her proud.”

This nod marks the first time that Gemelli was named first team All-State. As a freshman, Gemelli was first team All-District. She moved up as a sophomore, earning first team All-Regional and third team All-State.

Prep coach Jim Stachura compared Gemelli’s game to that of international star Cristiano Ronaldo. Gemelli’s ability to anticipate the bad first touch and get on loose balls, even from 20 yards away, matches that of the Portuguese attacker.

“Anybody can stand next to a defender and cause problems,” Stachura said. “But it’s the ability to recognize where the ball is, get your body in front of it and steal it. Or when you lose it, you can go and get it back. That’s what makes him a special player and that’s what makes Itala what she is too.”

Another thing that makes Gemelli a special player, in her coach’s eyes is her need to get her teammates involved in the game. Stachura said there were several games this year that saw Gemelli work tirelessly to get her teammates goals even though the Irish already had the game wrapped up.

Gemelli, who is getting ready to enter her senior season, celebrates just as hard when her teammates score a goal as she does when she gets one of her own.

Though she still has one more year of high school soccer left to play, Gemelli already has verbally committed to play Division 1 soccer at the University of Dayton.

But before she moves on to play with the Flyers, Gemelli wants to become a more versatile player.

“I think something I could improve on is my shot,” Gemelli said. “I always had a ton of chances, but I’d always hit the post or send the ball wide. Practicing a solid shot is something I want to work on.”

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