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Lazzari Signs with Truman State

April 25th, 2012
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Lazzari signs with TrumanSenior defender Brad Lazzari has signed a national letter of intent to play soccer at Truman State University this fall.

Lazzari, who transferred from Peoria Christian after his freshman year, was a major contributor on Peoria Notre Dame’s 2009 state runner-up, 2010 state championship, and 2011 state third place teams.

Lazzari plays club soccer for St. Louis Scott Gallagher Metro Academy and was named first team all-area by the Peoria Journal Star following his senior season.

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Notre Dame soccer captures third at state

November 8th, 2011
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2011 State Team

Lazzari PenaltyBy JOSH WESSLER
Peoria Journal Star

FRANKFORT – With the Class 2A state championship trophy no longer available, Notre Dame had to settle for a smaller model Saturday.

But in order to settle, the Irish had to fight.

Facing an equally hungry Aurora Marmion side in the 2A third-place match at Lincoln Way-North High School in Frankfort, Notre Dame turned in a stellar defensive effort before edging the Cadets, 4-2 in penalty kicks, to claim the program’s third third-place trophy in 12 trips to the state tournament.

“We said that 10 years down the road, you’re gonna remember whether you got third or fourth,” ND coach Mike Bare said. “It’s nice to go out in your last game with a win.”

While the Irish (21-6-0) ultimately fell short in their quest for a second-straight state title, the victory did provide them some consolation as it allowed the team’s five seniors to end their prep careers on a high note.

And fittingly, it was a senior who sealed the victory for the Irish. With ND leading 3-2 in the shootout and one round left to go, senior defender Brad Lazzari stepped up to the spot, took a deep breath and did what comes naturally.

“I knew if I scored we won and if I missed it would go on,” Lazzari said. “So I just went up, relaxed, tried to put it out of my mind and just thought about where I was going to place it.”

With every set of eyes in the stadium focused on Lazzari, the senior struck a low ball that buzzed past Marmion goalkeeper Brad White and into the back corner of the net for the decisive goal.

“I got the job done,” Lazzari said. “I put it exactly where I wanted it.”

While Lazzari’s heroics capped what was a tightly-contested consolation game, his moment in the sun likely wouldn’t have come had it not been for the efforts of the ND defense and goalkeeper Mitch Auer.

With the wind at their back and the potent Mike Frasca leading the charge, the Cadets (19-8-3) went on the attack early to put the Irish on their heels.

Utilizing their speed on the outside, the Cadets managed to generate a few dangerous chances in the box but could not find their way past the 6-foot-3 Auer, who made three crucial saves in regulation and one in the shootout.

Perhaps the Cadets’ best chance came with 17:20 to play in the first half when Frasca, who had scored 42 goals on the season coming in, struck a header off the crossbar. Frasca nearly scored minutes later but sent his open volley from short range harmlessly over the goal.

“We didn’t have our best game yesterday. Today, I thought we played with tremendous heart,” said Marmion coach Kevin O’Connor, who retired as Cadets coach after 16 years at the helm following the loss. “As a coach you can only ask your players to leave it all on the field.

“Notre Dame is a great team with a storied history. We created a lot of great chances and we should be proud.”

The Irish managed to settle things down by the end of the half and after the break had the run of play against the Cadets.

But like Marmion, ND had difficulty finishing in the box and failed to score despite putting 11 shots on goal.

“That’s kind of been our problem this year,” Bare said. “We’ve just had a hard time putting the ball away. We’ve had games where we come out and every shot we’re taking is going in, and we’ve had games where we go out and create chances but nothing goes in the net.

“Credit to them, they were a difficult team to break down. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find a goal in regulation.”

Despite ND controlling play after the break, Marmion was able to conjure up a late run of offense and likely would have scored had it not been for Auer, whose diving attempt on a goal-bound strike by Frasca with 1:40 to play helped keep the game level.

Semifinal Story: Mather too fast for ND

Click here to view all of the 2011 season articles.

ND soccer up for challenge

August 23rd, 2011
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Johnny Frampton

Senior midfielder Johnny Frampton attempts to settle the ball during the annual Shamrock Scrimmage

By JOSH WESSLER
Peoria Journal Star

Talk about having a tough act to follow.

Imagine being in a talent show and having to go onstage after Jimi Hendrix or Richard Pryor.

Now imagine having watched their performance firsthand, seeing what kind of standards that the waiting crowd will be holding for you up to once you get onstage.

For some, the task may be too daunting. For others, the opportunity to match or exceed those expectations is too great of a challenge to pass up.

And while its situation has little to do with talent shows, the Notre Dame boys soccer team is faced with a similar challenge this fall.

And if there is any question as to whether or not the Irish are up for the challenge, well, you just haven’t been paying attention.

Coming off of a season in which it went 26-1-0, rolled to its second Class 2A state title in three years and earned a No. 4 national ranking by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, the Notre Dame program has been enjoying a level of exposure and notoriety that few prep programs ever experience.

But these are somewhat uncertain times for a program that has established its reputation on being one of the state’s best.

Left with just four returning starters thanks to a graduation that took 68 percent of the team’s scoring, the Irish were left with more questions than answers last spring.

But if there’s any uncertainty surrounding this season, you won’t find it among those within the program.

“Going into this season, one of the things that we told the boys right up front is that even though we’re a young team this year, we still have high expectations,” ND coach Mike Bare said. “So the goal, regardless of what we graduated, is still to win another state championship.”

Coming off a season in which they outscored opponents 129-15, this year’s team won’t have the same potent attack that troubled so many opposing defenses last season.

Instead, the Irish will rely on a deep and talented junior class to help fill the void while leaning on the play of four returning starters for leadership.

But while last year’s team was viewed by many as the area’s best before the matches even began, the perceived uncertainty surrounding this year’s group has given teams a sense of opportunity.

“We had a great preseason, the guys have worked really hard and they know that this year is a big year for us,” Bare said. “They know that maybe some people in the area think it’s their turn to take over our top spot and they want to work extra hard so that that’s not the case.”

Not wanting to give his team a sense that his own expectations may be less for this season, Bare once again loaded up the Irish schedule with a handful of games against nationally ranked opponents.

Basically, the Irish have other ideas for those who think that it might be curtains for their long-running act as one of the state’s premier teams.

“That’s been a motivating factor for us as well, what everybody else thinks of us,” Bare added. “I think the general perception is that we lost so much and that this is the year that Notre Dame takes a step backwards. But what we’ve been preaching is that it’s not a year to take a step backwards, it’s a year to continue to push in the right direction and move forward.

“That’s not easy to do with the class that we graduated, but I think these guys are up for the challenge.”

ND state soccer champs pass down what they’ve learned

June 28th, 2011
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2011 Boys Soccer School

Peoria Notre Dame head boys soccer coach Mike Bare, joined by varsity players from the high school team, reinforce soccer concepts for area players during their soccer camp at the school. Bare, the 2010 Illinois Coach of the Year, stressed hard work as the key to the team’s success.

By KYLE DILLER
Peoria Journal Star

After winning the Class 2A state soccer championship last season, coaches and players at Peoria Notre Dame High School are preparing to compete for that title for years to come.

Monday morning (June 13) was the kickoff for the 2011 Peoria Notre Dame Boys Soccer School. The camp allows third-graders through incoming freshmen to learn from the state champions themselves.

“It’s an opportunity for them to come out and meet the coaches and meet a lot of the current players, to see the way we do things,” said head coach Mike Bare, 30. “To come out and actually play on the field that the varsity team plays on, I think they think that’s pretty neat.”

Bare expects about 95 percent of the campers to attend Peoria Notre Dame. Some are likely to be competing for places on the team within the next few years.

“It’s a good experience being taught by people that know the game really well and are ranked even at the national level,” said Timmy Johnson, 14, an incoming freshman.

The most important focus of this school is not scoring goals, but developing touch.

“The first touch is the most important because that’s the basis for your game,” said senior Brad Lazzari, 17. “It’s important to learn that from a young age.”

The camp is aided by players from last season’s championship team, including Lazzari.

“I remember when I was little, older kids helping me out and showing me stuff,” he said. “I looked up to them and it kind of motivated me, so I like to give back.”

Instilling the right mentality in the campers is also key as they look to the future.

“Every day you come out and give everything you have, because when you get to high school we’re going to expect everything you have every day,” said Bare. “And that’s what makes us a special team, and also the success that we’ve had is because everybody buys into what we’re doing here.”

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2010 State Championship Rings

May 3rd, 2011
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The 2010 team gathered this past Sunday to receive their state championship rings. Special thanks to Dustin James from Herff Jones for his help in designing and producing the rings.

2010 State Championship Team

2010 State Championship Rings

2010 Season Highlight Video

April 17th, 2011
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Here is the season highlight video courtesy of Jim Mattson and HOI-19 / WEEK 25 News. The video has been broken into 5 parts due to its length and YouTube upload limitations.

From this point forward, we will use our new YouTube Channel for all PND soccer videos.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Top 5 Goals of 2010 Season

April 7th, 2011
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Here is our best stab at the top 5 goals of the 2010 season. This video only includes goals captured by Jim Mattson and HOI-19 / WEEK 25 News.

Cicciarelli Accepts Invite to U.S. National Team Camp

February 3rd, 2011
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Vince Cicciarelli

Vince Cicciarelli

NSCAA All-American, IHSSCA Illinois Player of the Year, and University of Notre Dame commit, Vince Cicciarelli, has been selected to the roster for the upcoming U.S. Soccer Under-18 Men’s National Team training camp being held in Phoenix, Arizona from Saturday, February 12 to Sunday, February 20.

Vince will be one of 36 players from around the country seeking a spot on the U.S. National Team’s 20-man competition roster.

There are currently no players from the state of Illinois listed in the U-18 Men’s National Team Player Pool.

To learn more about the Under-18 Men’s National Team, visit ussoccer.com

Irish bring home the gold in boys soccer

November 7th, 2010
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2010 State Championship Team

Goal CelebrationNotre Dame romps Norridge Ridgewood to win state title, 8-0

By JOSH WESSLER
Peoria Journal Star

If there were any questions regarding Notre Dame’s status as one of the top boys soccer teams in the nation, the Irish erased them Saturday in the Class 2A state championship.

Considered the favorite to regain the title they won two years ago, they proved their worth with an 8-0 drubbing of Norridge Ridgewood to claim their third state title, in a record-setting final at North Central College.

Led by seniors Vince Cicciarelli and Cody Gilfillan, who each scored twice, Notre Dame received goals from five players in its 24th consecutive victory.

ND also set records for largest margin of victory and most goals in a state championship match. Springfield had held both records after beating Westchester St. Joseph, 7-0, in the 1997 Class A final.

Click here to read the entire article.

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Early second-half scoring sends Irish boys to state semifinals

November 4th, 2010
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Johnny Frampton

Junior midfielder Johnny Frampton celebrates his second goal against Lemont off a diving header

By BO RYAN
Peoria Journal Star

NEW LENOX – It has become popular this postseason to talk about the importance of scoring first.

Tuesday at the Class 2A New Lenox Supersectional, Notre Dame boys soccer coach Mike Bare liked the second score in his team’s 4-0 victory over Lemont.

“Scoring first is huge,” Bare said. “But what I thought was more important tonight was scoring second.”

Notre Dame (24-1-0) led 1-0 at halftime at Lincoln-Way West, then scored twice in the first six minutes of the second half against defensive-minded Lemont (15-8-3).

“Against Morton we scored first, then allowed Morton to score second, giving them the energy to keep battling,” Bare said about a 2-1 overtime sectional-title victory. “Whereas tonight, we got that second goal and I think it broke their spirits. I think they knew it would be tough putting two in against us.”

The victory sends Notre Dame to the state finals for the third consecutive year. The Irish play Waterloo, a 1-0 victor against Champaign Centennial at the Springfield Super, in a semifinal at 1 p.m. Friday at North Central College in Naperville.

Click here to read the entire article.