Trib HSSN Top 20 Stories of 2020: Mars soccer dominates the state

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Wednesday, December 30, 2020 | 6:05 PM


The most unique year in our lifetime is coming to an end. With so many mass starts and stops, highs and lows, just about all walks of life were affected by the coronavirus in 2020.

High school sports were no different. The first two and a half months of the year were carefree and business as usual. Then the final nine and a half months were greatly affected by the pandemic, whether scholastic contests were played or not.

Trib HSSN will close out the year with a daily countdown and a look back at the top 20 WPIAL stories from the year 2020.

No. 4 – Perfect Planets

Coming into this season, Mars soccer had established itself as one of the top programs in the district with the boys and girls combining for eight WPIAL and two PIAA championships in the last two decades.

In fact, the Fightin’ Planets girls soccer teams finished 22-0-1 with both a district and state crown in 2019.

However, in 2020, the two programs were out of this world.

Mars joined Greensburg Central Catholic this fall as the ninth and 10th teams to sweep WPIAL boys and girls soccer gold in the same year when the boys won the Class 3A title with a 2-1 victory over Franklin Regional while the girls blanked Plum, 1-0, to win a second straight WPIAL 3A crown.

However the Fightin’ Planets took their success to another stratosphere.

They both won two more games in the state playoffs to reach the PIAA finals in Hershey. The girls repeated with a 2-0 triumph over Villa Joseph Marie while the boys won their first state championship with a 2-1 victory over Northern York.

The boys finished 21-0 and allowed only nine goals all season with 12 shutouts.

The girls extended their unbeaten streak to two seasons and were 19-0, allowing only five goals with 15 shutouts, which included blanking all six district and state playoff opponents.

History was made as Mars became the first WPIAL boys and girls soccer teams to also sweep district and state gold in the same year, and they are the first district school to both finish undefeated.

Girls coach Blair Gerlach was named national coach of the year and Ellie Coffield was chosen as Pennsylvania player of the year.

The golden year on the pitch for the Planets was capped off when the Mars girls soccer team reached No. 1 in the country in the United Soccer Coaches Fall Top 20 rankings.

No. 5 – Moving On Up

No. 6 – One and Done

No. 7 — T.J. All the Way…Again

No. 8 – Golden Corral

No. 9 – Perfect Pine

No. 10 – West A Senior Drafted

No. 11 – Covid KOs Champs

No. 12 – Emotional Championship

No. 13 – Outstanding Olivia

No. 14 – The Bucs Aren’t Stopping Here

No. 15 – Free Fall

No. 16 – An Overdue Golden Storm

No. 17 – Lots of Mercy for Central Valley Foes

No. 18 – Swimming Sweep…Again

No. 19 – Fabulous Freshmen

No. 20 – Golden Knights of the Tennis Court

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