By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
WILLIAMSTON – Bloomfield Hills Marian seniors Makenzie Larson, Alexa Finger and Hanna Pateryn were set to give everything they had this season, their last of high school soccer.
But after graduating 13 players from the 2011 team, and then adding six freshmen, the trio had no idea what they were getting themselves into this spring.
Turns out, it was a third MHSAA championship in four seasons.
Thanks in part to two goals by one of those freshmen, midfielder Kelly Sweeney, Marian downed reigning champion Plainwell 3-1 in Saturday’s Division 2 Final.
“Just to come back with all these freshmen; they worked so hard to keep these three seniors around to the very end,” Larson said. “All these underclassmen that stepped up for us, they brought so much energy to the team. They did an amazing job.”
Larson and Finger were on the Mustangs for all three championships, while Pateryn joined for the 2010 win. Total, Marian has won four MHSAA titles, all over the last decade.
The Mustangs (22-2-1) also had two sophomores this season. One, midfielder Julia Griessmann, got her team on the board 7:55 into the game.
The chances kept coming for both teams. Total, Marian outshot Plainwell 13-10, but the Mustangs capitalized with Sweeney’s two goals during the first nine minutes of the second half.
The Trojans (21-3-2) – which returned 15 players from last season’s title-winning team – did get on the board on junior Hope Pell’s goal with just less than 22 minutes to play. But they couldn’t come up with enough opportunities down the stretch to make it closer.
“I love my group,” Plainwell coach Chad Wiseman said. “They battled from the beginning of the season to the end of the season. We had some chances, and in a state title game you’ve probably got to capitalize on those chances.”
Larson has signed to play next season at Loyola University of California. Pateryn has signed to play at Northern Kentucky, while Finger will go to Butler University on an academic scholarship. The multitude of juniors and underclassmen certainly played a large part in this championship, but coach Barry Brodsky said it came down to the leadership of his three seniors coming off last season’s District opener loss.
“We made a point as a coaching staff to really stay on the seniors we have. These are quality kids and they bought in," he said. “If the seniors don’t buy in, you’re not going anywhere. But from the first day until last night at practice, they were all in 100 percent of the time.”
PHOTO: Bloomfield Hills Marian's Mackenzie Pohlman (13) battles for the ball with Plainwell's Makenzie Evers during Saturday's Division 2 Final at Williamston High School.