Mars soccer trio all-state

December 21, 2020 Cranberry Local Sports


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Caroline Wroblewski

If one team has three players named all-state, it must have had a dominant season, right?

A 19-0 record, WPIAL and PIAA titles while outscoring opponents 111-5.

How's that for domination?

That's what the Mars girls soccer team achieved this fall. The Planets were led by a trio of senior captains — forwards Caroline Wroblewski and Gracie Dunaway and midfielder Ellie Coffield.

All three recently received all-state honors from the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association.

“They're all different types of players,” said Mars coach Blair Gerlach. “Ellie's a straight playmaker. Gracie is an athletic beast who can play multiple positions and Caroline is a physical, enforcing player.

“We were balanced on both sides of our attack and then we had Ellie coming up the middle. For teams preparing to play us, it's like, 'What do you do?'”

Coffield scored 24 goals and added 36 assists this season. She was also named the state's girls soccer player of the year. She and Dunaway were both named all-Region II, which encompasses a number of states, including Pennsylvania.

Coffield was one of three players from the region to be named All-American.

“Ellie has a standard that she wants to play to and is a natural leader,” said Gerlach. “You can just tell how important the game is to her.”

Coffield is grateful for the talent she was surrounded with.

“I couldn't have accomplished what I did without the players around me,” she said. “After I found success as a freshman and sophomore, I had specific goals as an individual. But they never got in the way of me doing what I had to do on the field for the team.”

Gracie Dunaway

For Coffield, it is the second straight year she was named all-state. Wroblewski and Dunaway were so honored for the first time.

“I wasn't expecting this, but was super-excited when Blair called to tell me,” Wroblewski said. “It really is something special.”

Wroblewski and Dunaway formed a lethal duo at the top of Mars' attack with 20 goals/15 assists and 22 goals/10 assists, respectively.

“A lot of teams we played would man-mark either me or Gracie,” Wroblewski said. “That would leave one of us open.”

And the Planets did not squabble about who was finding the net.

“It did not matter, as long as we were working together,” insisted Dunaway. “One of the strengths of our team was that we had multiple people who could score.”

All three players endured the bitter taste of defeat in WPIAL title games against Moon (2017) and Oakland Catholic (2018). They helped turn that disappointment around, closing their scholastic careers with district and state crowns in both 2019 and 2020.

“We were nervous in those games our freshman and sophomore years,” Wroblewski said, “but we all became team captains as juniors and helped lead the team in the right direction.

Ellie Coffield

We knew we were good enough to go pretty far.”

Dunaway played mostly as a defender her first three years of varsity, but settled in at the other end of the formation as a senior.

“I was happy to contribute as much as I did,” Dunaway said. “I always believed I could do well at forward and I proved that this season.”

All three players will be playing Division I soccer in college. Coffield is headed to the University of Pittsburgh, Dunaway to Purdue and Wroblewski will compete for Kent State.

Each was a four-year starter for the Planets.

“We have talent coming back next year, but we're losing quality players and clearly have some big holes to fill,” Gerlach said.

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Derek Pyda

Derek Pyda

- Graduated from Connellsville High School in 1996
- Graduated from Clarion University in 2000 with a Bachelors in Communications
- Have also written for Clarion News (Clarion, PA) and the Herald-Standard (Uniontown, PA)
- Started at the Butler Eagle on April 2, 2002
- Interests include sports, history and geography