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25 April 2017

Blue Ribbons, Gold Medals, and a State Championship

Co-written with Ayanna Diaz

The Lady Niners made history on October 29 when they won their first ever state title at Carroll Stadium at IUPUI. The team won 2-0 to the Lawrenceburg Tigers. In addition, senior Hanna Sarosy was awarded the Mental Attitude Award, which granted Andrean a $1,000 scholarship in her name.

The girl’s soccer players are no amateurs of the game, as six of the eleven current starters are seniors. Many of the girls have been playing for well over ten years, but for many, the state championship was their last game of soccer. “It’s really sad that our life of high school soccer has come to an end, but I couldn’t have asked for a better last game,” Sarosy said.

While the championship match is the last high school game for the senior girls, it is also the last competitive soccer game that most of them will ever play. “All of these seniors except for one are not playing in college,” said Tessa Wojkovich (12). “You really can’t get any better than this.”

Senior captain, Danielle Tazic, has verbally committed to Minnesota State University to play soccer in the fall. For now, however, she’s happy to be a state champion, “It’s a dream come true for everyone on this team. We put in so much work and we finally accomplished our final goal,” Tazic said.

The team has carried on the Andrean tradition of writing down team goals and personal goals at the beginning of the season, and winning state has always been on the seniors’ lists. “You know the saying quit on top? That’s what we’re doing,” Wojkovich said.

Hanna Sarosy’s award also makes Andrean history; she is the first female in Northwest Indiana to be given the Mental Attitude Award. “It was great to win such an honorable personal award, but I really like being able to share the state title with my teammates,” Sarosy said. The Mental Attitude Award is given to a player by the IHSAA who shows excellence in leadership, scholarship, academics, and athletics. The player is nominated by her school principal and coach and then chosen by IHSAA officials.

Sarosy also had some advice for her underclassmen teammates. “Play your hearts out. You know what it’s like to win, so play hard and work together as a team,” Sarosy said.

One of the happiest people after the team’s victory was the Lady Niners’ head coach, Mr. Jeff Clapman. “I felt relieved. I was so happy for them, kinda overwhelmed,” Clapman said. After the team won semi-state, he made sure they practiced enough to prepare for the state game. “I tried to keep [practice]  as routine as possible,” Clapman said.

The soccer team’s  late night practices and morning runs ended up paying off. During the state game, they had a comfortable two goal lead that they kept for most of the second half. There were a lot of emotions during the last minute of the game, and it only escalated from there when the last second had passed and the team officially won the State Championship. “I was confident that we would do well, and we did. I felt a sense of pride for our school… It was such a great weekend,” Clapman said.

The other Andrean students were very happy for the Lady Niners and their historical victory. Niner Nation, the student section that has been cheering on the girls’ team since their sectional win at Wheeler, was especially supportive during the final game in Indianapolis. The Andrean student section was packed with people cheering on the team. “I was very excited. They’re all my friends, the game was a lot of fun.” said fan Adam Bednarek. Winning the State Championship means that the girls will bring home a trophy, gold medals, and a precedent for the next season.