Prep girls soccer: Marshall's Friday a standout any day of the week

Hilltoppers senior is headed to college to play hockey but is dominant on a soccer field as well.

Duluth Marshall’s Maren Friday pursues the ball during a Sept. 3 game against Cloquet-Carlton. (Steve Kuchera /

Maren Friday’s love for soccer bloomed on her family’s backyard field in Lakewood Township.

It’s also on that field, complete with a full-size goal, where Friday learned her physical nature while challenging older brother Connor and younger brother Brendan.

“I have two brothers who have never gone easy on me at all,” Maren said. “My younger brother and I still go up against each other in the backyard. Having that constant competition with your siblings in a sport will always help because they are always around you.”

Now a 17-year-old senior at Duluth Marshall, Maren Friday is the one doling out the punishment to Northland girls soccer rivals.

The midfielder has scored nine goals and added five assists as the Hilltoppers have started the shortened season 7-1. She has scored a school-record 63 goals in her prep career.


“She knows that she can be a physical player and that’s part of her game, but she does it very smartly,” Marshall senior defensive midfielder Bella Bacigalupo said. “She knows when it’s good to be physical and when not to be physical.”

That was a topic during Marshall’s fall camp, shortly after the Minnesota State High School League gave soccer the green light to be played in the fall. Friday was so gung-ho at initial practices that Hilltoppers coach Nic Bacigalupo had to tone down her enthusiasm somewhat.

Since the Hilltoppers’ varsity roster consists of only 17 players, Coach Bacigalupo was keen to avoid injuries in practice.

“We’re always susceptible to injuries, and early in the season she and others on the team were so excited to be out and playing,” the coach recalled. “Maren was saying ‘Let’s go play as hard as we can every single practice. I’m going to play 100% and go for every single ball.’ I had to turn her (volume) down a little bit because what if they injure each other in practice?

“I had a chat with her saying, ‘When you go in for a challenge, just remember that it’s against your teammates. I know you are excited to be back on the field and want to play and compete really hard, but let’s back off and save that extra 10 or 15% for the game.’ That’s just the way she is.”

Friday understands where her coach was coming from.

“In practice, he didn’t want us making stupid plays by reaching out and jabbing or going in for a hard tackle,” she said. “It’s just not worth it to hurt your teammates by trying to go hard.”

That physical style helps in her other sports as well. Friday plans on playing hockey at Division I Union College next season, and she even stepped in after the 2019-20 hockey season to help the Hilltoppers’ basketball team reach the state tournament.


“I’ve played boys soccer and hockey on (youth) teams,” she said. “Since I played hockey, I wasn’t afraid to be physical because that’s a physical sport.”

Work ethic and height are other factors in Friday’s favor. She’s constantly in the middle of the offensive and defensive play and, at 5-foot-11 and lengthy, she is dominant going up for headers and is tough to get around in the midfield.

“She works for every ball. If something isn’t going right, she just picks her head up and keeps going. That’s probably why she is so dominant on the field,” said Bella Bacigalupo, who has played alongside Friday since seventh grade. “It’s really helpful to have someone in (the middle) who can win the ball on corners and crosses and to have someone who is willing to dig in there for every loose ball in the box.”

Friday can thank good genes for her athletic prowess — her father, Bret, was a Division I pole vaulter at Boston University, cousin Morgan played soccer at the University of Toledo and Uncle Josh played soccer at St. Scholastica — but the rest is all on her.

“She’s physical and athletic,” Nic Bacigalupo said, “and she has a drive and a passion for competing.”

With the Section 7A playoffs right around the corner, Friday is in the autumn of her soccer playing days. But there always will be that backyard field whenever brother Connor returns from studying at Northeastern University in Boston.

“It’s been a part of my life for so long that I’ll definitely miss it,” she said. “I’m not going to stop playing around with a soccer ball. You’ll see me around with a soccer ball before hockey games juggling. And when I come home, of course, I will have to challenge my brothers.”



Prep status: Duluth Marshall senior

Age: 17

Sports: Soccer, hockey

GPA: 4.0

School activities: Chamber singers, Honor Council, National Honor Society

Family: Father, Bret; mother, Louise; brothers Connor, 20, and Brendan, 16

Pets: English springer, Sadie; cats Annie and Iggie

College plans: Attend Union College to play hockey and study biomedical engineering


Duluth Marshall senior midfielder Maren Friday moves the ball towards the Cloquet-Carlton goal during a Sept. 3 game. (Steve Kuchera / free card

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