This story was originally published in the Fall 2022 Communiqué.
Girls Soccer Takes Home the Title!
On Friday, November 4, the Academy of Holy Angels (AHA) girls soccer team, led by Coach Dave Marshak, won the Class AA State Championship at U.S. Bank Stadium. It was a closely fought match against Mahtomedi, who was the number one ranked team and four-time defending State Champion heading into the final game. In the end, after a 1-1 tie in overtime, the game came down to a shoot-out. It was then that sophomore Briarleigh Dahl earned the game-winning goal to win the title, the program’s second State Championship. Their first state title was in 2003.
Building Upon Previous Seasons
Coach Marshak, who also works as a social studies teacher at AHA, has been the head varsity coach since 2007. The Stars girls soccer program - at all levels of play - has a strong reputation. The team has played in the last five consecutive State Tournaments and had two recent Miss Soccer players (Mia Van der Heide ‘20 in 2020 and Cat Duffy Shaw ’21 in 2021).
Although they graduated some key players, the team was highly ranked all season. The Stars finished the regular season with a 20-2-0 record and continued to gel into the postseason, working with 14 returning players and eight new players, including three freshmen. At a recent send-off pep fest prior to the State Tournament, Coach
Marshak commented, “It takes a lot of dedication to get here. While many of you were resting or visiting colleges over MEA Break, these girls were here, on campus and working hard.”
The Stars had the perfect mix of experience, youth, talent, and motivation. Senior captains Chloe Sandness, Madden Smith, and Steph Goedde and junior captain Audrey Garton kept the team focused throughout the tournament run.
Marshak said, “They felt like they had something to prove after being so close so many times before, and prove it they did.”
Success Off the Field
The Stars are not only dedicated to their sport; the team commits to their coursework as well. The 22 players on the varsity team hold an average grade point average of 3.66. Additionally, senior Kate Van Sloun and junior Ingrid Kuhfuss were named to the All-Section Academic Team. Principal Heidi Foley shared, “This team’s on-field and off-field accomplishments are remarkable. As students, they hold very high standards in order to achieve a 3.66 average GPA. This is a wonderful example of the dedicated student-athletes at AHA.”
To close out the season, the Stars will take a break from their well-deserved celebrations to complete the team’s Faith in Action service project together, making blankets for those in need.
Fall Sports - Much to Celebrate!
The Stars volleyball, girls soccer, boys cross country, football, and girls tennis teams all secured their
respective conference/division titles, and the swim team had multiple personal bests. Senior Colin Kaster qualified for the Class AA Cross Country State Championships. Additionally, Stars football (pictured below), led by Coach Jim Gunderson, won the Section 5AAAA Championship in early November, earning a State Tournament berth for the third consecutive year. After a tough loss in the State quarterfinals, they finished the season 7- 4.