Sports Town will review the 2011-12 school year during July. Today we are visiting the girls soccer season.
The Mars girls' soccer team dominated the headlines in the North Hills this past soccer season, staking claim to being the top-ranked team in the nation. The Planets completed a 25-0-1 season that featured a Section 2-AA title, a WPIAL Class AA title and a PIAA Class AA title with the latter being achieved by knocking off Villa Joseph Marie, a team ranked No. 1 in the United States by some national publications.
Mars only "blemish" was a 2-2 tie to section rival Knoch (16-2-2).
"Our coach always gives a sentimental speech about it meaning so much to the seniors, but it never really hit me up until this year," Mars senior midfielder and leading scorer Mani Brueckner said. "It is the same speech every year but once you get to be a senior, it hits you.
Brueckner finished the season with 37 goals and 43 assists. Her teammate, sophomore forward Karli Paracca scored 22 goals.
"High school soccer might not be a big deal to some people, but for us it is a pretty big deal and to win the WPIAL [title], it is meaningful because of how much time we put into it."
In Class AAA, North Allegheny (14-9) reached the WPIAL semifinals and PIAA quarterfinals and in Class A, three teams from the North Zone reached the WPIAL semifinals, Shady Side Academy (16-5), Avonworth (18-4) and Springdale (16-8-2) who reached the WPIAL final. Springdale went on to reach the PIAA final where it lost 3-1 to District 4 Warrior Run.
The other section champions from the North Zone were in Section 2-AAA Seneca Valley (16-2-2), Section 1-A Sewickley Academy (13-5) and Section 3-A Avonworth.
Individually strong seasons were had by: Avonworth season forward Ehlana Gray, who became the all-time leading scorer in program history; Sewickley Academy senior forward Haylee Vaccarelli, who scored 19 regular-season goals; Springdale senior goalie Erica Roney, who had nine shutouts; Pine-Richland junior forward Lydia Sargent, who scored 21 goals; and North Allegheny senior forward Katie Hohmann, who led the Tigers with 18 regular-season goals.