A few minutes into North Hall’s state title match against the nation’s No. 1 ranked team, St. Pius, goalkeeper Mary Mancin saw a perfect shot from 35-yards out curl and sail right over her head — it was the first time in three straight games that she’d been scored on.
Moreover, it was only the third time in 12 games that she’d been scored on.
“Losing the state title game was a disappointment, but we played well,” said Mancin of her team’s 4-0 loss in the Class AAA state title game.
Despite ending the season in a fashion rarely experienced by Mancin and her teammates, who finished the year 17-4, 10-0 in Region 7-AAA: The bigger picture sunk in quickly for the team’s co-captain.
“(Co-captain) Bradee (Burrell) and I had been together for four years,” Mancin said. “It was the perfect way to go out, leaving the girls with a legacy and a mark to live up to.”
All told, Mancin finished the season having stopped 88 percent of the shots fired her way while accumulating shutouts in four playoff games and 12 regular season games.
For her efforts, Mancin is The Times 2009 Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
Mancin started playing soccer because of her big sister’s influence, and continued because of friends.
She quickly realized, however, that the sport was more than just a passing fancy or a peer pressure-induced trend.
“I always scored a lot of goals when I was playing youth leagues where there weren’t goalies,” Mancin said. “But when goalies were introduced, I became one and realized that the adrenaline rush of making a big save was great.”
What Mancin also realized, was that she loved the sport enough to study it.
“I know the game,” said Mancin, who was named her team’s MVP in 2008 and 1st team All-Region 7-AAA in 2009. “I know how to read it, and wanting to learn about it makes me want to play it more and be better at it.”
As a result of the aforementioned, Mancin plays for the Atlanta Fire United in the offseason and spent two years playing in the Olympic Development Program.
She will continue her career next year at Columbus State University.
“Columbus State sent me a workout schedule for the summer, and a DVD,” Mancin said. “The workouts are insane, it’s a whole different level — but I’m ready for it.”
And this past year was the best preparation, not only where skills are concerned, but mentality.
“I was a senior captain this year and I needed to set the example,” Mancin said. “I needed to get ready for college too, so I always had that in the back of my head because if you slack off mentally in college, you won’t play.”
“Mary (Mancin) was arguably the most valuable player on our team,” North Hall coach Nathan Wallace said. “She brought an incredible confidence to our team and was one of our leaders.”