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GIRLS SOCCER: Marian knocks off Plainwell in Division 2 championship game WITH VIDEO
Freshman Sweeney scores twice to fuel Mustangs to 3-1 title game victory
Birmingham Marian coach Barry Brodsky (right) and his team storm the field as the final seconds tick off the clock in the Mustangs' 3-1 win over Plainwell Saturday in the Division 2 state championship game in Williamston. (Special to The Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
Marian players hold up the championship trophy after their 3-1 win over Plainwell Saturday. It was the third state championship in the last four years for the Mustangs. (Special to The Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
Birmingham Marian players Annika Johnson (center) and Alexa Finger (right) come to celebrate Kelly Sweeney’s second goal of the game Saturday. The Mustangs won the state title with a 3-1 victory over Plainwell. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
Marian’s Catherine Anger (left) tries to keep the ball inbounds as Plainwell’s Makenzie Evers defends during the second half of the Division 2 state soccer final Saturday. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
With the lights shining brightest in the state finals, it was more of the same.
The perennial juggernaut Mustangs exploded out to a 3-0 lead midway through the second half on Saturday afternoon before cruising to a 3-1 win over Plainwell in the Division 2 state championship game, collecting their fifth state crown in the past 10 seasons.
Back on Wednesday in the semifinals versus Trenton, Marian went ahead 5-0 in the second half, prior to claiming a 5-2 victory.
“We haven't wasted much time out there these last few games, that's for sure,” Mustangs head coach Barry Brodsky said. “Everybody has been supremely focused this entire tournament run.”
Brodsky, who has been on the sidelines for all five titles, couldn’t say enough about his club following the trophy presentation.
“This is just an incredible group of girls in so many ways,” he said. “They believed in a common cause and they believed in each other and the result is a very well-deserved state championship, the ultimate reward. All their hard work paid off and that’s what’s most satisfying for me as their coach. From the seniors, who were just the consummate leaders on and off the field, to the underclassmen, who bought into everything this program is about, the 2012 Marian Mustangs were a special team.”
Junior Julia Greissmann scored Marian’s first goal of the game less than 10 minutes into action off an assist from Catherine Anger.
Holding a 1-0 lead at the break, Mustangs star freshman Kelly Sweeney tallied a pair of goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half to personally deliver an early knockout blow to underdog Plainwell's title hopes. Sweeney’s first goal was off another assist from Anger (and Hanna Pateryn), a little more than seven minutes into play after the half and her second one came five minutes later on a free kick.
“The whole team was fired up to come out here today and get the job done,” Sweeney said. “I feel very fortunate to have been able to get those two big goals in the second half that helped close everything out. We’re all on cloud nine right now.”
One of the top freshmen in the state, Sweeney found the back of net 19 times this year.
Senior goalie Mackenzie Larson picked up the win in net gathering seven saves on the day. Larson and fellow senior and co-captain, Alexa Finger, close their prep careers having played on three Marian squads that captured state titles.
Pateryn, another Mustangs’ senior captain, was quick to credit the team’s chemistry for much of their success.
“These girls are my second family,” she said. “We’re all one big family and we played like it on the field.”
Marian finished the campaign with a final record of 22-2-1 record and with the Mustangs only losing three seniors off the roster are sure to be contenders for a repeat crown in 2013.
BIRMINGHAM MARIAN 3, PLAINWELL 1
M 1 2 - 3
P 0 1 - 1
First half: 1. M, Julia Greismann (Catherine Anger)
Second half: 2. M, Kelly Sweeney (Anger); 3. M, Sweeney; 4, P, Hope Pell
Goalies: Marian, Mackenzie Larson (7 saves); Plainwell, Sarah Morrell (10 saves)
RECORDS: Marian 22-2-1; Plainwell 23-2-2
Last Updated: 6/20/2012 6:42:27 AM EST