After stroke, Marian soccer coach leading Knights into state title game

Over the last 18 months, the Marian girls soccer team has been forced to deal with the very toughest of times--on multiple occassions.

In March of 2010, the Knights' soccer coach Mike Flynn suddenly died while on vacation with his family. No one saw it coming.

DJ Charmat, an assistant under Flynn, took over the program.

After a solid first season under their new head coach, the Knights again faced adversity. On December 4th, 2010--Charmat suffered a stroke.

The team feared the worst but as it turned out, Charmat has recovered as good as anyone could have ever asked for. He says he feels 100 percent.

Through all that adversity, the Knights will find themselves in a place on Saturday that no Marian girls soccer team has ever been before---the state championship game.

Marian will face Providence at 10:30 Saturday morning at Kuntz Stadium in Indiana in the 1A State Finals.

No one is more excited than Charmat.

"For me, it's great great," Charmat says with his Algerian accent. "I'm very excited."

"I haven't been slipping a lot lately," he jokes. "Lot of excitement, just I'm all pumped."

And his players feed off that energy.

"He's so pumped up," senior captain and defender Madeline Ladue explains. "To do it for him after his awesome recovery is just a blessing."

The Knights feel all the adversity they've been through has helped them get to this point.

"There's not much that can tear us down," star foward Gabby Veldman says. "Especially overcoming all of that. It's a lot to say we are one big family because when we say that, we mean it."

That big family is in for a challenge Saturday. Providence is undefeated and has not given up a goal the entire postseason. But Marian doesn't think about that. They are thinking about the journey they've already overcome and the opportunity to make school history.

"It's incredible," Ladue says. "This is the first time a Marian girls soccer team has gotten this far. To be the first, especially in your senior year--going out with a bang--it's amazing."

"It's the first time to go for the full ride," Charmat says with a smile.


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