Mars’ Blair Gerlach named PSCA Class AAA Girls Soccer Coach of the Year

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Wednesday, December 4, 2019 | 2:11 PM


Postseason honors keep piling up for the Mars girls soccer team.

On Wednesday, Mars girls soccer coach Blair Gerlach was named the Pennsylvania Class AAA Girls Soccer Coach of the Year by the Pennsylvania State Soccer Coaches Association.

“I think it all comes back to the team,” Gerlach said of the award. “They put together such an imposing run that was really fun to be a part of. The group was so enjoyable.”

The Fightin’ Planets went undefeated this season, captured a WPIAL Class AAA title and also defeated Villa Joseph Marie, 1-0, in the PIAA Class AAA championship to earn the second state title in program history.

Gerlach has been coaching at Mars for the past 19 years. He coached in the boys program for six years and has been the head coach of girls for the past 13, meaning he was with the program when they captured their first state title in 2011.

Both state title teams went undefeated with one tie, and they both defeated Villa Joseph Marie, 1-0, at Hersheypark Stadium. The similarities don’t stop there either.

Gerlach and his team sat on the same bench, defended the same goal in each half and also had to avoid a late push by Villa Joseph Marie to capture their state championship.

“From a soccer standpoint there are so many similarities to that 2011 team that had a similar run,” Gerlach said. “The common thread though was just the fact that everyone there was there for one goal and it wasn’t them, it was the team. To have those types of kids, it makes coaching a real honor.”

The longtime Mars girls soccer coach didn’t just get to share this special season with his current players either, he got to share it with his former ones, as well.

Assistant coach Crysta Ganter scored the game-winning goal for Mars in the 2011 state championship, and assistant coach Joe Haefner was a goalie for Gerlach during his time with the boys program.

“Sharing these experiences with people I coached is such a blessing,” Gerlach said. “Then, to have people come back years later and say this program was a positive influence on their life and they want to be involved is so humbling.”

Mars finished the season in the top 15 of TopDrawerSoccer.com’s national team rankings and is also ranked No. 3 in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Expect the Fightin’ Planets to be back next year too as they only had about three seniors who played significant time for them this season. One was Trib HSSN Girls Soccer Player of the Year Taylor Hamlett, who scored 43 goals and tallied 28 assists this season.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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