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'All In' North Muskegon girls soccer team advances to first-ever state final

Norse beat Calvin Christian, 2-0
North Muskegon advances to state finals
Posted at 10:49 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 23:00:35-04

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. — Wednesday night will be a night to remember for the small North Muskegon community that cares so deeply about athletics.

The Norsemen faithful packed the stands at Comstock Park high school for the Division 4 state semifinal girls soccer game against Calvin Christian.

North Muskegon punches ticket to state finals

"You know us, North Muskegon is home to very few people but we're totally packed up there tonight and it means the world," said first-year head coach, Caleb Pamin.

Pamin says he was out walking the dog earlier in the week and hearing from strangers.

"I can't tell you how many people this week were like, 'We can't wait for Wednesday,' and had no connection to our program," he added.

After a quiet first half, Norse sophomore Natalie Pannucci would find the back of the net with just 29 minutes left in regulation and they weren't done there.

North Muskegon advances to state finals

Senior captain Hope Johnson would add a second goal just one minute later and the Norse knew it was there game.

"Once I knew we got the first one, it was like we were locked in and ready to go," Pannucci smiled after the game, "we knew we're a second half team, so we got the first one and knew it was ours."

Senior goalkeeper Syann Fairfield would record another shutout in the game, though she admits she didn't have to work too hard thanks to her defense.

"I was like, 'Alright, nothing goes in Syann, this is your box, your net, nothing is in,'" Fairfield said on her message to herself, "and obviously with my great defense it wasn't that hard to make that happen tonight."

The Norse would win 2-0 to punch the program's first-ever ticket to the state finals.

"It's amazing to be that team that's building the program up and now we're playing in the state finals so this is a big thing for us," Fairfield added.

North Muskegon celebrates state semifinal win
Head coach Caleb Pamin (right) celebrates with his players after the 2-0 win in the state semifinals.

And Pamin also had a good laugh when thinking about what has been accomplished.

"We talked at the beginning of the year, there's a spot for a banner in our gym but you only get them for a state championship or runner-up. Now, it's just choosing what side and I think I know what side the girls want to put it on."

All of the players on the Norse roster would sport green headbands, hand markings, and even green nail polish.

They say it all symbolizes their team motto going into Wednesday's game.

"We all painted our nails last night together," laughed Johnson, "we have our green dots, green headbands, that's our thing. If anything happens, we put our hands up like we're all in, go green."

Coach Pamin with painted nails
North Muskegon head coach Caleb Pamin shows off his painted thumb after the win.

Coach Pamin even showed off his painted nails after the win.

"Everything is all in," Fairfield added, "we're all in, the community is all in, our coaches are all in, green means go, it's just our symbol."

The Norse will take on Shrine Catholic on Saturday at 1:00 PM in the state championship game at Michigan State University.