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Hall of Fame Bound: Coach Brodsky and Courtney McCracken on the Unforgettable Journey of 2003, 2004 Soccer

The 2024 Marian Athletic Club (MAC) Hall of Fame celebration on Sunday, March 24, 2024 will mark the third consecutive year that deserving individuals and teams will be inducted to the Marian Athletics Hall of Fame. Among this year’s inductees includes 2003 and 2004 Soccer. Ahead of the celebration, Marian interviewed legendary Coach Barry Brodsky (2022 Hall of Fame Class) and Team Captain Courtney McCracken '04 to shed light on these two extraordinary seasons in Marian Soccer history: 

Coach Brodsky and Courtney, congratulations on the induction of the 2003 and 2004 varsity soccer teams into the Marian Athletics Hall of Fame! Coach Brodsky as head coach and Courtney as a standout player during those historic seasons, what made those teams special, and what do you remember most about your championship runs? 

Coach Barry Brodsky: The story really begins with losing in the 2002 state finals—while everyone was excited we made the finals, there was unfinished work to do. With the majority of our team coming back for the next season, we had shirts printed up that said “Unfinished Business”. If you look at our 2003 playoff run, we won every game, except the first round, by only one goal. Three went into overtime (including the final), and one we won in a shootout.  It was a well-deserved championship because the girls beat all the top teams in the state while playing under tremendous pressure. In 2004, we again had a great majority of our team back, plus some very good new players. In 2004, as our record shows, we were truly dominating and a perfect 25-0-0. 

Courtney: Thank you so much for this incredible honor! Being a part of Marian soccer was one of the most memorable and rewarding periods of my life. During that time, Marian was well respected for their basketball team, but they had no idea what was about to unfold with their soccer program as the dynasty began.  Accordingly, what I remember most about our championship runs was the thrill of competition and the sheer joy of playing a game we loved. The intensity of those matches, the support from our fans, and the shared determination to win are memories that will last forever. Additionally, the respect I had for my teammates and coaching staff was immense; their leadership and guidance were invaluable in shaping our team’s success.   

The 2003 varsity soccer team had an impressive season, culminating in a dramatic victory in the MHSAA Finals. What were some of the defining moments or challenges that the team faced throughout that memorable season? 

BB: The biggest moment that season was finally beating Bishop Foley in the Catholic League finals in overtime 1-0 on a goal by Meghan Garrity '04, Michigan Miss Soccer 2004. Bishop Foley had been the top team in Michigan for many years, and when we finally beat them, the team knew they could beat anyone in the state.  

CM:  During our 2003 run, we went through many overtime games during the regular season. This not only prepared us for the intense moments leading up to the championship game, but it taught us to stay focused and composed even in the most challenging situations. With that being said, one of the most memorable moments of that season was our final game for the state championship title, which we won in double overtime with a goal scored by Chris Wasniewski '03. It was a testament to our teamwork and perseverance, as we never game up and fought until the very end. This victory was the culmination of our hard work and dedication throughout the season, and it will always be a cherished memory for me and the team.   

Building on the success of the previous year, the 2004 varsity soccer team achieved unprecedented dominance, going undefeated and capturing another state championship. What do you believe were the key factors that contributed to the team's remarkable success that season? 

BB: The 2004 team was exceptionally talented, with many of the girls being three or four years varsity players. They played with remarkable confidence and swagger, but remained humble and hungry.  By the time we reached the tournament, we all believed that no one could defeat us and that the only obstacle in our path was ourselves. We won 5-0 in the semifinals and 3-0 in the final. Our 2004 captains, Jess Deneweth Zendler '04 , Courtney McCracken '04, Lea Perz '04 and Meghan Garrity '04, all four-year letter winners and all all-state players, were the driving force behind the team’s success.  

CM: Coming into the 2004 season as previous state champions was no easy task. Luckily, our team had such a strong bond from the year before, that it helped us overcome challenges and achieve success. As the captain, I strived to lead by example and inspire my teammates to perform their best. We learned from our mistakes and any setbacks, using them as motivation to become better. Also, our ability to adapt to different game situations and remain resilient in the face of adversity was key to our success. As Courage and Barry also instilled in us: we were family, and nobody was going to break us.   

Coach Brodsky—reflecting on your coaching philosophy and approach, how did you cultivate a winning culture and instill values of teamwork, discipline, and resilience in your players? 

BB: Our teams consistently depended on and embodied the characteristics of our seniors. The seniors were always involved in decision-making and consistently shaped the team's direction. At Marian, as coaches, we always felt super lucky because the girls were such great students. We always believed that we were the most intelligent team on the field. Great players, who work extremely hard and are super smart—that’s how I would describe a typical Marian team.   

Courtney—as a team captain, what role did teamwork, camaraderie, and leadership play in the success of the 2003 and 2004 varsity soccer teams? Can you recall any specific instances where these qualities were particularly evident during your time on the field? 

CM: I don’t want to speak for everyone, but we really didn’t study soccer. Some may have watched it on TV (especially the Champion’s League), or some may have coached on the side, but it was something that came so natural to everyone on the team—and, we trusted each other. For instance, no matter where I was on the field, I knew that Meghan Garrity was making that run down the left side. There was no doubt in my mind that anyone would outrun her or even be able to handle the ball the way she did. Then, the confidence I had in our goalkeeper, Lea Perz, came with years of playing together. Lea was one of the best goalies in the state, and she made that known every time she stepped on the field.   

Being a team captain meant your teammates would look to you for guidance. What they didn’t know, is that they were the ones that guided me. Briana McDevitt Wojciechowski '05 “dusting” off my soccer boots before each game for good luck, or Caitlin Gibson '03 starting the sweat band trend around our arms to show we were family. Those little things brought such camaraderie to the team, and we only wanted to work harder for each other.   

As you prepare to celebrate the induction of these championship teams into the Marian Athletics Hall of Fame, what emotions and memories come to mind, and what message would you like to share with the players and fans who were part of those unforgettable seasons? 

BB: We always said that Marian Soccer was a family. The Marian soccer community, year after year, supported the team as their family. Whatever we needed or wanted, it was provided and so much more. Personally, I can’t thank everyone enough, and there are far too many names to mention, but hopefully we showed our appreciation with how we represented the school and the community. A quote from a former player said it well: “Seasons come and go but families are FOREVER”.  Love to all.   

CM: I just want to thank every person that supported myself and Marian Soccer during our unbelievable run(s).   

  1. To my coaches:  Thank you for always believing in us and instilling the true meaning of family into our team. We are so thankful to have played for such amazing people and so happy to share these honors with you!  

  1. To my teammates:  We accomplished the impossible and I’m so grateful to have played with every single one of you. Thank you for allowing me to be your captain in the 2003 and 2004 seasons but also, thank you for being mine.   

  1. My father, Tom McCracken:  Your unwavering support and pride in my accomplishments meant the world to me. I couldn’t have asked for a better role-model, on and off the field (especially when Uncle Jack got kicked out of the game because he took the blame for you).  

  1. Mr. Scott Perz:  Thank you for taming my father down on the sidelines throughout the years. Lea and I had a great ride together, and you were always in our driver’s seat. We will miss you!    

Thank you Coach Brodsky and Courtney!

Joining 2003 and 2004 Soccer in this year’s Hall of Fame Class are All-American basketball player Nicole Anaejionu '99, track and field standout Dana Carey '11, lacrosse legend Caroline Forester '15, and longtime Marian Head of School Sr. Lenore Pochelski, IHM, who was instrumental to the growth of the athletic program and a guiding member of the Catholic High School League's (CHSL) Executive Committee.  

Once again, Jennifer Hammond, FOX 2 Sports Reporter and 2024 National Sports Media Association (NSMA) Michigan Sportscaster of the Year, will be the evening's host for the third consecutive year. Hammond will lead the inductee panel in an interactive talk show-style format that promises to be entertaining for all ages. 

While tickets are free of charge, attendees are encouraged to register and contribute to the Hall of Fame effort if possible. Additionally, registrants and sponsors have the opportunity to write personalized messages to the inductees during the registration process. Sponsors will take part in a private meet-and-greet event with inductees that will include photo opportunities and a champagne reception. Hors d'oeuvres and light refreshments will be served to all. 

The Hall of Fame Class of 2024 joins 2023 inductees longtime contributor Denny Flynn, groundbreaking tennis coach Julie McKnight (posthumously inducted), all-American swimmer Mollie Pultie '15, and dual sport threat Stephanie Storen Jett '93 (basketball & volleyball) and 2022 inductees Barry Brodsky (soccer), Mary Cicerone (basketball), Jay Louis-Prescott (field hockey & soccer), Bill Thompson (swimming) and Dave Feldman (athletic director). 

2003 & 2004 Team: 

  • Meghan Garrity '04 (2004 Captain) 
  • Christine Greenough '04 
  • Teresa Kaczmarek Janusz '04 
  • Courtney McCracken '04 (2003 & 2004 Captain) 
  • Cara Leonard McLean '04 
  • Brittany Burkhart Murphy '04 
  • Melissa Jarman Olive '04 
  • Lea Perz '04 (2004 Captain) 
  • Chelsea Homer Prouty '04 
  • Christine Cubbin Susalla '04 
  • Jess Deneweth Zendler '04 (2004 Captain) 
  • Sarah Knipper '05 
  • Jennifer Kramer '05 
  • Chelsea Von Mach '05 
  • Caitlin Winston '05 
  • Briana McDevitt Wojciechowski '05 
  • Alexandra Busuito '06 
  • Alicia Crawford Coleman '06 
  • Kaitlyn Meernik Malaski '06 
  • Barry Brodsky (Head Coach) 
  • Christopher Courage (Assistant Coach) 
  • Michelle Lawrence (Assistant Coach) 
  • 2003 Team Only: 
  • Caitlin Gibson '03 
  • Allie Hartrick '03 (Captain) 
  • Kendall Aliber Stortz '03 
  • Niki Alpers Vossberg '03 
  • Christan Wasniewski '03 (Captain) 
  • Caroline Hopkins '03 (Manager) 
  • Jessica Herzog '03 (Manager) 
  • Laura Jannausch '03 (Manager) 
  • Keith Christianson (Assistant Coach) 


2004 Team Only: 

  • Anna Bennett '05 
  • Caitlin Presnell '05 
  • Elizabeth Schweighofer Sandberg '05 
  • Margaret Schweighofer Watkins '05 
  • Katherine Wilson Connery '06 
  • Lauren Jarman Jones '06 
  • Kelsey Tait '06 
  • Mikayla Bouchard Hensler '07 
  • Jay Louis-Prescott (Assistant Coach) 
  • Marloes Blokdijk (Trainer) 
  • Rachel Brosdsky (Manager) 
  • Alumnae
  • Athletics