By Jennifer Ballard
Carrollton – Marist won its eighth girls soccer state title by beating Columbus 5-0 in the Class AAAA championship game Friday at University Field in Carrollton. Katie MacGinnitie scored twice for the War Eagles.
“Everyone is special this group was unbelievable,” said Marist coach Sergio Stadler. “From the very beginning they embraced our philosophy and they got better and better every single time. They believe in each other and they choreographed a beautiful game of soccer.”
Senior Caroline Strom scored the first goal just 12 minutes into the first half to give Marist the early edge. From there, the rout was on as the War Eagles outshot Columbus 19-1 and held the ball for 75 percent of the game. Freshman Katie MacGinnitie scored two goals while Emily Gale and Meredith Selvey each added goals for Marist. Strom’s initial strike preceded MacGinnitie’s first goal which afforded Marist a 2-0 lead at the half.
“Katie is phenomenal,” said Stadler. “I taught her father and now I am teaching her and she will be back next year.”
Sophomore Carlin Zaprowski was in goal for Marist for much of the contest, but had to make just one save. She was substituted for with six minutes remaining, but enjoyed helping the War Eagles earn their first state title since 2009.
“First state title and it feels unreal,” said Zaprowski. “I am speechless! Our goal for the season was to win state and we did.”
Despite dominating the competition throughout the season with a 22-0-1 record, Marist players seemed to be surprised to come out on top at the end, despite outscoring their playoff foes 40-0.
“My goal for the season was to play my hardest and win state,” said MacGinnitie. “I never thought we would come this far.”
Columbus now must take solace in losing their second state finals in a row. Last season, the Blue Devils fell 2-1 to Allatoona in the AAA final.
“We want to be in the state championship next year,” said Columbus coach Rusty Oliver. “That is our goal for the next season.”
The Blue Devils end the season 16-6. Columbus got here by shutting out four consecutive playoff opponents. But Marist proved too strong today.
Stephen Black contributed to this story.