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Archive for November, 2009

Second place is still pretty good

November 16th, 2009

2009 State Runner-Up Team

By Tom Batters | Peoria Times-Observer

NAPERVILLE — Peoria Notre Dame, the defending Class 2A soccer champions, lost to Arlington Heights St. Viator, 1-0, Saturday in the championship game, ending up with a second-place trophy instead of another title, which these players and coaches coveted since the start of the season.

But, this was not a “let-down” or a “disappointment,” as I have heard some people suggest.

I realize that the Notre Dame players and coaches were not satisfied with second place, and they are probably still aching over the loss to St. Viator, but second in the state is still quite an accomplishment, especially for a team that returned just three seniors from a year ago.

In fact, you could say that the Irish over-achieved this season. They certainly did not under-achieve.

Be honest. How many of you thought they would even make it back to the championship game?

They lost their entire back line, and a few of their trusted goal scorers, including Dominic Bonello, who was the heart and soul of last year’s state championship team.
So, Notre Dame fans, instead of shaking your heads and saying, “too bad they couldn’t win that last one,” you should congratulate coach Mike Bare and his players for making another trip to the state finals.

This may sound a bit “rah-rah” for some tastes. I am not trying to be a cheerleader, though. I’m just trying to emphasize this important point: It is very difficult to win a state soccer championship. Notre Dame deserves a lot of credit for making it to the final game two years in a row.

Not many other schools have done that.

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Early score all St. Viator needs to deny Notre Dame another state title

November 9th, 2009
Vince Cicciarelli

Notre Dame’s Vince Cicciarelli reacts as Arlington Heights St. Viator players celebrate their 1-0 Class 2A title win over the Irish at Naperville on Saturday during the IHSA State Soccer Finals.

By JOSH WESSLER
Peoria Journal Star

Related: Notre Dame doesn’t get a title in soccer or cross country, but has plenty to celebrate

NAPERVILLE — This wasn’t the way Michael Schrader envisioned his high school soccer career ending.

Coming into his final season at Notre Dame, the senior co-captain and his teammates had their sights set on repeating as Class 2A state champions.

Fueled by a desire to defend their state title, the Irish rolled through the regular season and postseason focused on bringing home the program’s third championship trophy.

But as Schrader and his team learned Saturday, sometimes things don’t always go as planned.

Facing an Arlington Heights St. Viator side gunning for its second state championship, Notre Dame came up just short in its title defense. Benefitting from an early goal, the Lions used a determined defensive effort to end the Irish’s reign, 1-0 at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium.

“It’s tough,” Schrader said. “We had a good season, but coming out here in the state championship and losing 1-0, that’s hard.”

The runner-up finish is the second for Notre Dame (23-3-1), which lost to Lisle Benet 2-1 in triple overtime in the 2001 Class A final.

The loss at North Central College also snaps at 36 matches ND’s win streak against Illinois-based teams. The last team from Illinois to beat ND was St. Viator, which won 2-1 in four overtimes on Oct. 3, 2008.

“It’s hard to take in, because I didn’t want to think of this being my last game as a senior,” Schrader said. “I thought that maybe winning a state championship will make all of that sadness, if you will, go away. But it’s hard when you lose your last game.

“It’s a tough way to go out.”

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ND makes Freeport pay

November 9th, 2009
Cody Gilfillan

Notre Dame’s Matthew Buck (17) gives teammate Cody Gilfillan (21) a hand after Gilfillan scored the Irish’s first goal of the half in Friday’s Class 2A semi-final game with Freeport at Naperville during the IHSA State Soccer Finals.

Defending state champions score early, often as they advance to Class 2A boys soccer title match

By JOSH WESSLER
Peoria Journal Star

Related: Will ‘Mikey,’ ND get Viator again?

NAPERVILLE — What once was a house of heartbreak has become a home away from home for the Notre Dame boys soccer team.

And the Irish made themselves right at home Friday.

Picking up where they left off a year ago, the defending Class 2A state champions returned to Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium in dominant fashion against a Freeport side in its state debut.

Facing a defense that had allowed only 13 goals this season, Notre Dame flexed its offensive muscle early and often in rolling to a 6-0 victory in the first of two 2A state semifinals at North Central College.

Notre Dame (23-2-1) will play at 1 p.m. Saturday in the title match, against Arlington Heights St. Viator. The Lions defeated Troy Triad 5-0 in the other semi to reach a state final for the third time.

Led by a pair of two-goal efforts by juniors Cody Gilfillan and Vince Cicciarelli, the Irish controlled the match throughout in their seventh consecutive victory at Benedetti-Wehrli.

“That was probably our best game of the year,” ND coach Mike Bare said. “Just a consistent 80 minutes. At times this year, we’ve played 40 minutes. Late in the year when you’re playing quality teams, it’s got to be a consistant 80. And we did that today.”

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Return isn’t all happy

November 4th, 2009
Supersectional Plaque

The Peoria Notre Dame Irish hoist their Class 2A soccer supersectional plaque Tuesday night after defeating Lemont 3-0 for berth in the state semifinals this Friday at North Central College in Naperville.

ND back in 2A boys soccer semis, but senior midfielder injured

PEORIA — Up a goal but down a man, the Notre Dame boys soccer team knew it was in for a battle Tuesday night.

And when the going got tough in the Class 2A Notre Dame Supersectional, the Irish got going.

Facing a physical Lemont side determined to end the hosts’ reign as 2A state champs, they held their ground to get a satisfying but perhaps costly 3-0 victory.

“The goal all year has been to win another state championship,” ND coach Mike Bare said. “And we’ve put ourselves in a position to make that happen. But while we’re happy to get the win and move on, we’ve got a lot of guys banged up right now.

“So we’re glad to advance, but also disappointed with the losses that we took tonight.”

Notre Dame (22-2-1) returns to Naperville this weekend for the state finals but could be without senior midfielder Michael Schrader, who suffered an injury to his right ankle late in the second half against Lemont (21-5-1). He had to be taken to a hospital for X-rays after the match.

In the semifinals at 11 a.m. Friday at North Central College, Notre Dame will face Freeport, a 2-1 double-overtime winner over Aurora Marmion at the Barrington Supersectional. ND will play Saturday for either third place or another state title.

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A wall sits in ND soccer’s way

November 3rd, 2009
Pre-Game Huddle

Notre Dame huddles up before the sectional final game against U-High

Lemont is supersectional obstacle for defending Class 2A state champs

By JOSH WESSLER
Peoria Journal Star

They’ve slayed the Lions, caged the Redbirds, grounded the Eagles and turned back the Pioneers.

They’ve battled the elements, trudged through the mud and withstood the efforts of those looking to knock the crown off their heads.

And through it all, the members of the Notre Dame boys soccer team have defended their Class 2A state title against all comers with poise and confidence befitting a champion.

But now, in order to continue their reign, the Irish will have to break through a wall. That wall comes in the form of a stingy Lemont side that has yet to allow a goal in postseason play.

The Irish, who have been shut out only once this season, will attempt to crack the Indians’ defense when the sides meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Notre Dame Supersectional.

The winner will advance to the 2A state semifinals Friday in Naperville to face the winner of the Barrington Supersectional.

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