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AHS girls soccer players celebrate historic state title win

AHS girls soccer champs

Members of the Andrean High School girls varsity soccer team pose with the 2016 Class A state championship trophy on the Merrillville school's courtyard labyrinth Nov. 2. The team defeated Lawrenceburg 2-1 in the title game in Indianapolis on Oct. 29. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

 

by Anthony D. Alonzo

Northwest Indiana Catholic

 

       MERRILLVILLE – Andrean High School’s girls varsity soccer team answered the question “what happens when a group of athletes rally around a lofty goal?” in grand style as they earned the first-ever 59ers state championship of its kind on Oct. 29.

       The varsity squad defeated Lawrenceburg 2-0 in Indianapolis to bring to home the Region’s first girls Class A soccer title.

       “Winning was sheer happiness,” said Andrean senior midfielder Hanna Sarosy. “I was thinking, oh my gosh, we just won the state championship and I’m incredibly happy to be able to do that. But your first response is that you can’t believe it.”

       Sarosy, who won the state tournament’s Mental Attitude Award, was joined by senior teammates Kiera Markham and Kate Mulshine who reflected on the tournament victory.

       “All of us started crying,” they said of the moment that time ran out in the title game.

       A first-year soccer player, Mulshine, who joined the 59ers (17-3-1) for her senior year after some lobbying by her friends, distinguished herself as a leave-it-all-on-the-field keeper with a long reach. Andrean players said the goalie’s stops, combined with a stout defense, shut down opponents such as Lawrenceburg, a team that had notched 4- and 5-goal performances in the state tournament.

       In the first half of the title game at IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium, Andrean’s Alyssa Schichner scored, shooting a low kick past Tigers keeper Hailee Hinthorne, who was hurrying toward the forward. The 59ers got on the board in the second half, going up 2-0 with a boot by Elly Samels.

       “I’m in awe of these ladies,” said third-year AHS head girls soccer coach Jeff Clapman. “The school’s very proud of these girls; earning the championship is an amazing feat.”

       Andrean’s presence in the state finals was its first since 1999; they also appeared in the semistate round in 2004.

       Bringing home the state championship trophy was articulated as the ultimate goal for Clapman when he arrived at AHS. Currently, the large wooden plaque carved in the shape of the state is being held by the school’s marketing department, which is taking the hardware on student recruitment visits at diocesan schools.

       “They set a goal, which no Region team has done, to (win a state title), and they accomplished that goal by being singularly focused,” Clapman said.

       The coach hopes prospective student-athletes will see the school as a place where teens can achieve great things in classroom and on the sports field. He believes there are potentially 14 academic all-state girls soccer players at AHS.

       Praising the cohesiveness of their team, the group of Andrean seniors also gave a shout-out to who they called the team’s “unsung hero”, senior stopper Logan Bosak. Markham, Mulshine and Sarosy said due to her position on the field, their teammate’s “big efforts on defense can get lost in the mix.”

       Andrean’s 10 senior soccer leaders are not at a loss for inspiration. They said in tough times, such as after a regular-season loss to rival Lowell High School in PKs, as well as in glorious moments, they have reached out in prayer.

       “We pray before every game,” said Mulshine. “And for me personally, I pray all the time, and we talk about God and his role in helping us accept the outcomes. At the end of (the title game) we all said a prayer to God thanking him.”

       A nice size crowd of Andrean students, alumni and other fans followed the 59ers during their championship run. According to Markham, this is in keeping with the school’s family-like atmosphere.

       “Niner Nation is an incredible thing. It’s huge to look up and see so many students there… you just got a feeling that this is a family,” said Markham.

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