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Division 3 girls soccer: South Hadley’s run ends with 3-2 state semifinal loss to Sutton

  • Lindsay Marjanski, of South Hadley, heads the ball against Sutton during the Division 3 state semifinal, Tuesday in Marlborough. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Lindsay Marjanski, left, of South Hadley, goes to the ball against Emma Joseph, of Sutton, during the Division 3 state semifinal, Tuesday in Marlborough. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Teagan Gawron, left, of South Hadley, gets control of a pass beside Eileen Donovan, of Sutton, during the Division 3 state semifinal, Tuesday in Marlborough. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Madelyn Doolittle, left, of South Hadley, moves the ball against Audrey Howe, of Sutton, during the Division 3 state semifinal, Tuesday in Marlborough. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Reese Carey, right, of South Hadley, moves the ball against Sarah Beachman, of Sutton, during the Division 3 state semifinal, Tuesday in Marlborough. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Paige Marjanski, of South Hadley, scores her team's first goal against Sutton during the Division 3 state semifinal, Tuesday in Marlborough. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Alexa Blaney, left, of South Hadley, moves the ball ahead of Elaina Edwards, of Sutton, during the Division 3 state semifinal, Tuesday in Marlborough. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Teagan Gawron, right, of South Hadley, shoots against Sutton during the Division 3 state semifinal, Tuesday in Marlborough. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Teagan Gawron, front, of South Hadley, moves the ball against Sutton during the Division 3 state semifinal, Tuesday in Marlborough. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The South Hadley team celebrates their first goal against Sutton, scored by Paige Marjanski, third from left, during the Division 3 state semifinal, Tuesday in Marlborough. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS



@kylegrbwsk
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

MARLBOROUGH — Paige Marjanski gave South Hadley hope.

The freshman midfielder tied the state Division 3 girls soccer semifinal with 2 minutes remaining in the first half.

She intercepted a Sutton clearing pass 30 yards from goal facing her own end, took one touch to settle the ball, turned around and fired.

The ball bounced at the 6-yard box in front of Sutton keeper Naomi Falkenberg. She bent down to stop it but couldn’t get down fast enough, and the ball skipped into the net.

“I just thought I would take a shot because we didn’t really shoot that much, and we needed to test the goalie a bit more,” Marjanski said. “It worked out.”

Marjanski leapt into the air and hugged her sister, Lindsay, who was the first one to greet her in the mob.

“All of us just had a rush, and it felt like we were finally in it,” South Hadley senior captain Sarah Fudger said.

That feeling lasted 13 minutes into the second half. Sutton senior Sarah Hicks scored twice, and the Suzies held on, 3-2, at Assabet Valley High School to reach the state final. Sutton (20-1-2) will face Archbishop Williams (20-1-2) for the title.

“We talked at halftime saying if we get the second goal, it’s going to be a different game,” South Hadley coach Rich Marjanski said. “It puts all the pressure on them.”

Hicks made sure the pressure stayed on the Tigers (19-2-1) in the 42nd minute. She collected a crossing pass from Kate Evangeline and fired home for a 2-1 lead.

“When our girls execute to feet, they find goals,” Sutton coach David Payne said.

Her third goal almost mirrored the first one. The Suzies crossed the ball in, and Evangeline found Hicks for a tap-in and a 3-1 lead in the 53rd minute.

“They scored all three of their goals on crosses,” Rich Marjanski said. “We had some defensive lapses. I don’t think the girls were as ready for as quick as they challenged us.”

South Hadley had barely walked off the bus before the ball found its net. Hicks fed Allie Wright in the 18-yard box off a cross. Wright settled the ball and fired it home for a 1-0 lead in the second minute.

“The best thing about this team is they’ll always fight back,” Rich Marjanski said. “Once we made a couple adjustments here and there, we were able to find some space.”

South Hadley changed its defense before the game not knowing what it would see from Sutton. The Tigers played with four defenders at the back despite playing most of the year with three.

They reverted to their original defensive formation after Sutton’s third goal and possessed the ball better.

Lindsay Marjanski gave them another dose of belief in the 74th minute. She tracked down a floated ball from Reese Carey in the box that Falkenberg couldn’t grab out of the air, turned toward the goal and blasted it home to cut the deficit to 3-2.

“I’ve seen them do it since they were little kids,” Rich Marjanski said of his daughters. “They like the big-time games.”

South Hadley mustered a final charge but couldn’t tie the game. It ended a 15-game winning streak and an 18-game unbeaten streak for the Tigers.

“This is a first for our school, even to be at the state semis,” Fudger said. “We’re definitely going to remember this for a long time.”

It was the final game in orange for South Hadley seniors Fudger, Abby Edge, Mikhaila Edge and Emily Wojnarowski.

“They set the bar pretty high for this team,” Rich Marjanski said. “The future’s bright for South Hadley. It’s something to build on.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com.