Lutheran North senior Marena Maceroni sends a shot toward the Royal Oak Shrine Catholic goalkeeper.

Lutheran North senior Marena Maceroni sends a shot toward the Royal Oak Shrine Catholic goalkeeper.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Undefeated Lutheran North soccer primed for state run

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Macomb Chronicle | Published May 6, 2024

 Lutheran North senior Jenna Wyrembelski controls the ball during a matchup against Royal Oak Shrine Catholic on May 2 at Lutheran North High School.

Lutheran North senior Jenna Wyrembelski controls the ball during a matchup against Royal Oak Shrine Catholic on May 2 at Lutheran North High School.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


MACOMB TOWNSHIP — On April 25 behind Macomb Lutheran North High School, girls soccer head coach Michael Agostini went to work with his team on a special kind of team-building exercise.

The team was 9-0-1 up to this point and ranked as one of the top teams in Division 3 soccer, but there’s always room for improvement.

The goal of the exercise was to imagine the team as a wall of concrete blocks, where the mortar would stand for unity.

Without the mortar, the players knocked over the wall with ease. But once the team provided unity to their wall, it was impenetrable and stood strong against any task.

Team chemistry has been the point of emphasis for the Mustangs, and now 10-0-2 this year and ranked No. 3 in Division 3, it’s clearly paying off for Agostini and company.

“Compared to last year and this year, we’ve really been working hard on building our relationships and being there for each other,” senior Ava Iwasko said. “We tried last year, but it just wasn’t working. I think we found that click this year. We’ve implemented more team bonding and team dinners, stuff like that, and I think that’s just helping us grow more as a family.”

Lutheran North carried the team motto “Happy to be here” for a reason — the players come out each day and play for each other.

Injuries have struck the Mustangs and impact players sidelined, but the bond continues to propel every player to step up and do what needs to be done for the team.

“I think our team has been so successful this season because we fight for each other and we work for each other,” junior goalkeeper Logan Solo said. “With that motivation, we’ve been able to overcome a lot of challenges on the field and be resilient. That’s what’s giving us an advantage over other teams.”

Solo already carries seven clean sheets as an anchor in net, and junior Giana Lafata, senior Emerson Lang, junior Eliana Saylor, sophomore Bailey Anton, and senior Lily Griskie help solidify the backline.

The defensive group has been banged up more than any unit through the course of the season, but Agostini said he’s been impressed with its play regardless of who needs to fill in.

“Every single one of them is lights out right now,” Agostini said. “They’re just doing what they need to do.”

On the attacking side, Lutheran North returns an all-state scorer in senior Marena Maceroni, who paces the offensive efforts alongside senior Jenna Wyrembelski, junior Alexus Glowicki, junior Kaitlin Level, who is returning from reconstructive ankle surgery, Iwasko, and Saylor.

Currently averaging four goals per game, the Mustangs have yet to be shut out in a contest and have scored four or more goals in six games.

Maceroni is playing at an all-state caliber once more, and she credits a change in mindset to her continued success.

“One thing I’ve really been working on is doing what I have control over, like my attitude and my effort,” Maceroni said. “Every day, I’m showing up with the attitude that every day is an opportunity to work on myself and get better instead of looking at the big picture and trying to be someone I’m not. I work on the things that I can control and on myself a lot, and that’s helped me a lot grow as a player with my confidence, my 1v1 abilities, and attacking the goal and scoring.”

A team mindset change as a whole was a warranted change after Lutheran North tallied only 14 wins in the last three seasons combined and last had a winning season in 2019.

The state tournament has been equally unkind with the school’s last district championship coming in 2019.

The program endured a consistent base of success with consecutive district titles from 2016 to 2019 and a regional championship in 2017, but the post-COVID environment of the team was lacking something.

As Agostini took over in 2022, he said the needed change was evident, especially after last year.

“I think we’ve just struggled with a little bit of belief,” Agostini said. “They’re a little more mature. We haven’t really had a big class of seniors over the past couple years. We usually have two or three, but this year we have seven and I think it’s making a difference in their mentality and the way they approach the season.”

You’d never guess there was a lack of belief with the confidence and chemistry Lutheran North possesses, consistently having fun and joking with one another at practices.

Toward the end of the schedule, Lutheran North is on the verge of an unbeaten season and a Catholic High School League title.

Their toughest test will come on May 8 when they face Orchard Lake St. Mary’s on the road, which could be a league-deciding matchup.

Whatever is up next for the Mustangs, just know they’re going to be doing it together.

“We have a lot of fun personalities,” Maceroni said. “We’re always laughing and always goofing around. Not goofing around in a bad way, but always having a good time and laughing. We always show up to games with our music pumping. We know Lutheran North is there. We’re just always happy to be at soccer and ready to play every day.”