Girls’ Soccer Makes School History, Goes to State

Going to State is something every athlete dreams of in their high school career.  Coming into the 2022 season, the Providence Academy girls soccer team set out to beat last year’s record of 1-14-1. However, following a 6-0 win against Rockford in the first game of the season, they knew that they could make it all the way to State. 

The team breezed through the regular season with a record of 13-3-0, becoming the number 1 seed for the Section 6A tournament. 

When asked how they felt going into sections, Maddyn Greenway, ‘26, said, “I feel that we came in confident and that we played how a number 1 seed team should play.” 

The Lady Lions first beat Rockford 9-0 in the Quarterfinal, then came out over Watertown-Mayer 5-3 in the semifinals, and finally defeated Southwest Christian 3-0 in the Section Final with goals from Avery Lampe, ‘24, Lydia Grajczyk, ‘26, and Greenway. 

Section 6A win against Southwest Christian, 3-0. PAW Photo Credit: Alan Lampe

On Wednesday, October 26, the team traveled to Monticello High School, a neutral site, to play against St. Cloud Cathedral in the State Quarterfinal. They defeated St. Cloud 6-1, with three goals coming from Lampe and the other three coming from Greenway, all scored in the first half. 

Then on Wednesday, November 2, the team had the opportunity to go to U.S. Bank Stadium where they played St. Anthony in the State Semifinals. After two goals from Greenway and a late goal from Elizabeth Hughes, ‘26, the team sadly  was not able to bring the game back, and lost 3-4. 

Greenway noted, “The nerves got to us, but we eventually settled in and dominated the field, even with the unfortunate result.”   

On Thursday, November 3rd, the team traveled to West St. Paul where they played Breck for third place. The score was 0-0 in the first half, however Kira Cmiel, ‘23, put Providence in the lead after scoring in the second half. At 78 minutes, Breck scored a goal, tying up the game.  

The team ended the game with a 1-1 tie against Breck, giving them a shared 3rd Place finish in State. Their 17-4-1 record for the season has become the best in the program’s 19 year history.  Along with this, the team experienced many firsts; becoming the first team in school history to be the number 1 seed in sections, going to the Section Final, winning Sections, going to State, and placing third. 

Shannon Healy, ‘26, Bridget Healy, ‘23, Kira Cmiel, ‘23, Avery Lampe, ‘24, Gabby Hankel, ‘24, Ceci Carron, ’26, Ella Vincent, ‘25, Ava Schroepfer, ‘25, huddle against the cold in football sherpas at the section quarter final against Rockford High School. PAW Photo Credit: Rien Rose Lee

In addition, Tatum Janezich, ’25, and Greenway broke records in Minnesota history. Janezich made 31 assists this season, as opposed to the previous record of 27 assists. And Greenway’s 58 goals this season made her the second main scorer in state history. 

Even though the season didn’t finish the way they wanted it to, the team still accomplished much more than they set out to. As noted by captain Rylie Schoenfelder, ‘23, “The season went very well and we made a lot of improvements. We also had a lot of success on and off the field.”    

Game, Set, Match

After finishing third in the MN State Class A Tournament last year, the Providence Academy Girls’ Tennis team came back wanting to add a state championship to their collection. After a hard-fought season, the Lions swept through sections, and on October 26th, they played their hardest and took home the fourth place trophy in the Class A State tournament.

On the morning of Monday, October 10th, the team traveled to the Gustavus Adolphus College campus to play in the section tournament. In order to get ready for a full day of tennis, the team listened to music and got hyped on the ride down. After an all day battle, the girls returned home with the title of Section 5A Champions, and a ticket to the state tournament. 

Grace Ardnt, Marie Heyda, ’23, Skylar Bartz, ’23, and Koral Horstman, ’23, smile from ear to ear holding the section champions trophy. PAW Photo Credit: Leightyn Ferrell.

Along with the team winning the section championship, First Doubles players Lisey Langhus, and Katelyn Clements, ‘24, competed in the individual sections tournament the following day. Langhus and Clements came home with another championship medal and a state ticket for individuals. Along with them, First Singles player, Annika Harberts-Ott, ‘24, placed second in the section, also qualifying her for the individual state tournament. 

Anni Harberts-Ott, ’24, drives a backhand down the line. Photo courtesy of MSHSL.

In the excitement of taking home two championship medals Clements commented, “We came, we saw, and we conquered.” 

Harberts-Ott reflected on sections saying, “The best part of the matches was having my teammates by me and being able to cheer each other on.” 

Following their section championship, on the morning of Tuesday, October 25th, the upper school students attended a brief ceremony to introduce the team, pray for the Lady Lions and send them off to victory with the Providence Band drumline playing. As the team exited the PA building, middle school students lined the hallways to offer their support.

While thinking about the sendoff, Brooke Hohenecker, ’24, exclaimed, “I thought it was really special that the tennis girls were able to be sent off by the whole school. It was a special moment for them as they have put so much work into their season.” 

After their sendoff, the team loaded the bus and headed to InnerCity Tennis to play in the state tournament. 

The Lions won their first match against Luverne 7-0, and moved onto the state semifinals the next day. 

Marie Heyda, 23′, smashes a volley at the net. PAW Photo Credit: Delaney Flanigan.

“The whole team dominated,” Langhus remarked.

The following day, the girls watched the sunrise from the bus on their way to compete in the state semifinals. The Lions fell to Rochester in their match, moving on to compete for third place later that day. 

After the match, spectator Lonaiah Ferrell reflected, “It was really exciting to watch everyone play. There were some scary moments, but the team held it together.” 

However, in a turn of events the Lions ended up falling to Litchfield, putting them in fourth-place. 

Although the team missed out on the championship, Head Coach Bryan Turunen commented, “I feel really happy for this team. They worked hard all year. They played to their ability, and they deserved to be there.” 

The Lady Lions rally together after moving onto state semifinals. PAW Photo Credit: Alyssa Wilkins.

In the days following the team state tournament, Clements, Langhus, and Harberts-Ott, competed in the individual state tournament. Clements and Langhus fell to Breck, taking eighth place in the doubles tournament. Harberts-Ott also fell to Breck, taking fifth place in singles. 

Despite the outcome at State, all the girls still had a triumphant season to remember, filled with wins, laughs, and good memories. They can’t wait to get back to work and make an appearance at next year’s state tournament.

PA Hosts First “Super Soccer Saturday”

On Saturday, September 10th, Providence Academy and the Lions’ Soccer Booster Club hosted its first ever “Super Soccer Saturday” to celebrate the sport and Youth Soccer Day. 

The day was packed with fun, running from 9:00am to 12:00pm, with Lions games afterwards. 

The first activity on Super Soccer Saturday was an intramural soccer clinic for the “Cubs” (students in grades 3-5), and both boys and girls varsity team members volunteered to help the coaches run the program. It was a great experience for the aspiring PA soccer players to learn from the upper schoolers, who shared their love of soccer with them. 

Girls varsity soccer player Tatum Janezich, ‘25, said she volunteered not only to receive service hours, but also because, “I enjoy working with kids! It’s cool to help share the experience of being a soccer player with the younger ones.” 

Towards the end of the clinic, all of the younger soccer players broke into two teams—a girls’ team and a boys’ team—and played a very lively, but shortened game of soccer. Both teams even came up with their own chants to cheer each other on. The Middle School mini-scrimmages began shortly after the Cubs’ clinic, with both the girls’ and boys’ teams each playing an exciting match. 

The “Cubs” wrap up their clinic with a scrimmage. PAW Photo Credit: Maddyn Greenway

The players were not the only ones able to participate in the Super Soccer Saturday experience. Parents were able to watch their children play soccer while also enjoying the “Minnesota Carnivorium” food truck stationed at the fields and also the concessions. Even the varsity and JV girls’ teams gathered in community for a brunch that morning, to bond and fuel up before their own games against Wayzata High School and Heritage Christian Academy.

The girls’ junior varsity team played an exciting game against Wayzata High School, but unfortunately didn’t pull off a win. The boys’ varsity team faced off against Heritage Christian Academy, winning their matchup 2-1. And finally, the girls’ varsity team, who also took on Heritage Christian Academy, came out ahead with an 8-1 win.

Varsity boys’ goalkeeper Ben Martin, ’23, makes an impressive save. Photo credit: Jodi Lewis.

After the varsity game, to celebrate Youth Soccer Day, all youth players who wore a club or school soccer jersey received a free treat from the concession stand, which they could enjoy while they watched the Lions’ games. Many of the lower schoolers remained at Providence after their own soccer concluded to participate in this celebration and to cheer on the Lions.

The varsity Lady Lions in action on Mithun Field. PAW Photo Credit: Maddyn Greenway.

Fifth grader Annie Lee, who attended the Cubs’ Clinic, said that her favorite part of the day was, “The girls’ varsity game because my sister is on the team and I love watching the high schoolers play!” 

Overall, the PA Soccer Booster Club’s first Super Soccer Saturday was a success and a great experience for all players—lower, middle, and upper schoolers.

There is a possibility that this event will continue in future years, as Girls’ Varsity Head Coach Paul Cronin noted, “We would absolutely do it again. This is the first time we’ve done an event like this. It was very inspiring to see the older players serve as such good role models for all of the aspiring young players.” 

Perhaps the lower school students will someday be teaching young players how to play the sport they love, as varsity team members.

Lions Football Wins Home Opener

Blue, gold, and pink! The Providence Academy football team came out with an exciting win Friday September 9th, on their home turf, with cheering fans dressed in pink to support the Tackle Cancer mission of raising money for cancer research.

The Lions get ready for kick off against Spectrum High School. PAW photo credit: Gabby Hankel.

The PA Lions’ football team took on the Spectrum Sting on Mithun Field for a thrilling second game of the 2022 season. The players were anxious to get on the field for their first home game of the season, striving for a win to make their record 1-1. The team delivered, to the delight of their fans, with a 20-0 score. 

“We took the loss hard last week and all we did was prepare, prepare, prepare,” wide receiver Joseph Bergault, ‘25, remarked on the win. 

Spectrum’s defense caused a Lions touchdown to remain elusive throughout the first quarter, with the score remaining 0-0, but  Captain Stormy Knight, ‘23, pulled off the first touchdown of the game in the second quarter. 

From then, touchdowns were scored by Captain Eddie Dossantos, ‘23, and Colin Capouch, ‘25. 

“The game got off to a slow start,” mentioned quarterback Eddie Dossantos, “but things picked up as we went on. Boys played well and hard and we came out with a W.”

The team’s supporters were decked out in pink to support the Tackle Cancer mission. Providence annually fundraises at one home game to help further cancer research. Along with raising money, it is also tradition to wear pink clothes and accessories to support the cause. 

Student fans, decked out in pink to support “Tackle Cancer,” wave “goodbye” to Spectrum High School, as the Lions wind down their win, 20-0.

The players were not the only ones ecstatic for the home opener. The fans, including those from the team’s co-op schools–Heritage Christian Academy, Maranatha Christian Academy, and West Lutheran High School–packed the stands and were extremely active in cheering on the Lions throughout the game. 

“I think we have really great team spirit,” exclaimed PA student Katelyn Clements, ‘24. She continued, “Everyone is joining in the cheers and is really rowdy.” 

The Providence community shined on the field, along with the players and coaches. Providence’s dance team performed during halftime, which energized the fans for the second half. It was also the annual Youth Night, where youth athletes were able to accompany Providence players onto the field during the announcement of the starting lineup. 

The Lions’ participate in their traditional “thank you” to the fans for their support during the game. PAW photo credit: Gabby Hankel.

The home opener built anticipation for the upcoming season, and the energy on Mithun Field and in the stands proved that the Lions have immense support behind them. With the Homecoming game on September 31 and the excitement surrounding upcoming theme games, the Lions’ season will surely be one to remember.

New Year, New Gear

December may be over, but winter sports are just beginning.  Winter sports usually start in the month of November, but due to fall spikes in COVID, a statewide mandate forced all winter sports to pause. But finally, after months of canceled activities, most school sports are starting.  The week of the eleventh, Providence students will return to basketball, hockey, and skiing. albeit with modifications. 

Masks are among the biggest changes to this year’s winter seasons.  The masks are going to be an extra layer between the players and the air they need when working hard. It also wouldn’t be a true COVID season without social distancing, but this poses an extra challenge to teams trying to work together while maintaining a six-foot distance.

The Providence boys Varsity basketball team during a game.

Basketball player Ellie Millerbernd ‘22 commented, “I think that it’s really hard to truly bond with the team as we have in the past. It’s more difficult to communicate with my teammates on the court and even the rest of the team on the bench because of the masks and the social distancing (even the seats are 6 feet apart). We can’t even high five each other. It will be a weird adjustment, but our team already seems to be making the best of it.”

For the girls’ hockey team, masks and social distancing aren’t the only things they need to adjust to.  Starting this year, the girls’ hockey team is co-oping with St. Paul Academy so that is just another thing they have to work through to try and be at their best. 

Hockey player Ava Wasserman ‘22 reflected on the changes of the season, “It’s tough for sure, only having two weeks of practice before playing our first game with the new girls.” 

The feeling of being disconnected does not just exist between teammates. As of now, there are no spectators at any of the games except for immediate family, causing a disconnection between the players and their usual fans. The dynamic is a far cry from having a full student section cheering for your every move to a small number of your usual fans. 

Heidi Wasserman, a PA mom who is one of the few able to watch her daughters hockey games, also commented, “With all these changes, I am just happy that the girls still get to play and still even have a season.” 

Some of the girls’ hockey co-op players pose for a masked pic

This sentiment rings true among the community.  Athletes are happy to be back in the gyms and hockey rinks, even if it means a shorter season, difficult social distancing protocols, and masks full time. Although the changes pose challenges, PA coaches, students, and parents alike understand how lucky Providence athletes are to still be able to play.

Varsity hockey player Josh Mogeni ‘22 affirmed, “We just have to make the best of it because we don’t have that much time left altogether, mask or no mask.”