Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Girls Soccer Player of the Year: Lauren Marjanski, South Hadley

South Hadley’s Lauren Marjanski (7) maneuvers the ball against Sutton in the second half of the MIAA Division 4 girls soccer championship  at Doyle Field in Leominster.

South Hadley’s Lauren Marjanski (7) maneuvers the ball against Sutton in the second half of the MIAA Division 4 girls soccer championship at Doyle Field in Leominster. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

South Hadley’s Lauren Marjanski (7), middle, maneuvers the ball between Lynnfield defenders Giada Antidormi (12) and Morgan Ozanian (2) in the first half of the MIAA Division 4 girls soccer semifinals at Doyle Field in Leominster.

South Hadley’s Lauren Marjanski (7), middle, maneuvers the ball between Lynnfield defenders Giada Antidormi (12) and Morgan Ozanian (2) in the first half of the MIAA Division 4 girls soccer semifinals at Doyle Field in Leominster. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

By HANNAH BEVIS

For the Gazette

Published: 01-10-2024 4:22 PM

Modified: 01-10-2024 4:50 PM


There are some years where choosing a Player of the Year is challenging — often there are a lot of talented individuals, and singling one out isn’t easy.

This year, choosing Lauren Marjanski as the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Girls Soccer Player of the Year was a no-brainer. 

The South Hadley senior lives and breathes soccer. You might even say it’s in her blood — her two older sisters, Lindsay and Paige, were both long-time soccer players, and her dad, Rich, coaches the Tigers’ varsity team. Marjanski will continue playing soccer at The College of Saint Rose after graduation.

Marjanski’s hard work and dedication to the sport paid off this season when she hit a couple of impressive milestones. She scored her 100th career point against Pittsfield, her 100th career goal in a dramatic Western Mass. Class B semifinal win over Belchertown, and finished her career with an impressive 150 career points — 112 total goals and 38 helpers. 

“It was definitely very fulfilling and rewarding (to score my 100th point) because of how hard I've worked throughout my high school career,” Marjanski said. “Seeing everyone so excited for me was definitely very rewarding.” 

Marjanski scored a stunning 54 points this season alone (43 goals, 11 assists), but it wasn’t just individual success that she was chasing. More than anything, Marjanski wanted to help her team venture as far into the state tournament as they possibly could. The Tigers went far in both the Western Mass. and MIAA Division 4 tournaments. They made it all the way to the sectional final (and had to play in back-to-back games) before falling to Pope Francis. Using that defeat as motivation, South Hadley won their next four games in the state tournament to punch a ticket to the Division 4 championship game. That run included a dramatic state semifinal victory against Lynnfield that Marjanski said was one of her highlights of the year. 

During that game, Marjanski scored a hat trick in regulation, but Lynnfield found three goals of its own to tie the game. With neither team scoring in extra time, the game went to penalty kicks. 

“When we went into PKs, it was so nerve-racking, but everyone stepped up. No one missed their PK,” Marjanski said. “Especially (goalie) Drew (Alley) saving two of them and then going in and scoring the last one. Having the chance to celebrate with the team and on the bus ride home… it was definitely very rewarding and exciting.”

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It was the first time that Marjanski and her teammates had made it to the state championship game, and though they ultimately fell 2-1 to Sutton, getting all the way to the pinnacle of their sport was a memorable moment.

“Since freshman year, (making the championship) is what we've been trying to do,” Marjanski said. “Just to make it to those games — it's kind of like you take a deep breath of the fresh air once you make it there and you're like, ‘OK, we actually did it. Now we just have to go out there and win.’ Even though the outcome didn't come out how we wanted… we still had a lot of fun and the memories are unforgettable.”