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Seven PND Players Earn All-Area Recognition

December 4th, 2009
Vince Cicciarelli

Peoria Notre Dame’s Vince Cicciarelli, left, and Logan Rule of Normal U-High vie for the ball during the sectional final in Champaign.

Seven Peoria Notre Dame players have earned Peoria Journal Star All-Area recognition. Junior midfielder Vince Cicciarelli was selected as the 2009 Player of the Year.

Player of the Year:
Vince Cicciarelli (Jr, Midfielder-Forward)

All-Area First Team:
Jon Andersh (Sr, Goalkeeper)
Cody Gilfillan (Jr, Forward)
Brett Lane (Jr, Defender)
Michael Schrader (Sr, Midfielder)

All-Area Second Team:
Drew Olehy (Jr, Defender)
Kevin Whalen (Jr, Midfielder)

Click here to view the complete All-Area teams.

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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.”

Click here to read the complete article.

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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.”

Click here to read the complete article.

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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.

Click here to read the complete article.

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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.

Click here to read the complete article.

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Notre Dame is dry, on high

October 30th, 2009
Goal Celebration

Notre Dame’s Nate Bell and Kevin Whalen, left, celebrate the team’s second goal in their 5-1 win over Normal U-High in the Morton Sectional Final at Champaign on Friday. Notre Dame will advance to Tuesday’s Super Sectional.

U-High sent packing from 2A tourney after sectional final moves to Champaign

By JOSH WESSLER
Peoria Journal Star

CHAMPAIGN — A last-minute change in venue provided a welcome sight for the Notre Dame boys soccer team Friday at the Class 2A Morton Sectional.

Having won their last two matches in less-than-ideal playing conditions, the possession-oriented Irish became the prime beneficiaries of an early-morning site change that moved their sectional final against Normal U-High from rain-soaked McClallen Park to the field-turf pitch at the University of Illinois.

Although it took the Irish a little while to get adjusted to their new surroundings, there was little the Pioneers could do to stop them as the defending Class 2A champions poured it on after halftime to win 5-1.

“This was really an overall team effort,” ND coach Mike Bare said. “It wasn’t just one or two guys taking over the game, it was everybody contributing all around the field.”

With their 12th sectional title in the bag, the Irish (21-2-1) move on to the Notre Dame Supersectional, where at 5 p.m. Tuesday they face the winner of Saturday’s Lemont Sectional final between the hosts and Midlothian Bremen.

Click here to read the complete article.

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Notre Dame advances to sectional final

October 27th, 2009
Michael Schrader

Senior midfielder Michael Schrader scores his first of three goals against Dunlap

By JOSH WESSLER
Peoria Journal Star

MORTON — Just when Michael Schrader thought his work was done, the Dunlap boys soccer team pulled him right back into the mud.

Having scored three times to help his team build a seemingly insurmountable lead in Tuesday night’s Class 2A Morton Sectional semifinals at McClallen Park, the Notre Dame senior sat comfortably on the sidelines as the reserves attempted to close out the victory.

Schrader’s rest was short-lived, however. A determined Dunlap squad quickly cut Notre Dame’s four-goal lead in half.

Forced back into action on the rain-soaked pitch, Schrader and other starters helped squash the comeback bid as ND held on for a 5-3 victory.

“At this point, in these sloppy conditions, we just want to come out here and get a win,” ND coach Mike Bare said. “The goal was to get up on them, score early and have some urgency. We were able to do that, and so we advance.”

Click here to read the entire article.

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Notre Dame soccer rallies to victory in season opener

August 29th, 2009
Brett Lane

PND defender Brett Lane

The following is an excerpt from the Peoria Journal Star soccer roundup.

The Notre Dame boys soccer team’s state title defense got off to a rocky start Friday night, but a strong finish helped the host Irish come away with a 4-2 victory over Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin.

The Irish found themselves trailing less than a minute into the match when the visitors converted on a penalty kick to go up 1-0.

Notre Dame (1-0) managed to tie the game in the 35th minute on a goal by Brett Lane, but the Irish entered the half trailing 2-1 after SHG’s Brandon Irwin took advantage of a turnover for the Cyclones’ second goal.

It was all Notre Dame after the break, as goals by Cody Gilfillan, Michael Schrader and Jeff Cassidy helped extend the Irish’ win streak to 15 games.

“The guys kept their composure in the second half,” ND coach Mike Bare said. “They really buckled down and found a way to pull out a win.”

PND Picked to Win Mid-State 6 Conference

August 26th, 2009

The Peoria Journal Star released its annual boys soccer preview today and has picked Notre Dame to finish atop the Mid-State 6 Conference. PND has won at least a share of the conference title every year since 1995.

Below is an excerpt from the preview article.

Notre Dame (21-3-1, 6-0-0): The reigning Class 2A state champs lost a lot to graduation, including the 2008 Journal Star Player of the Year Dominic Bonello (MF), but return more than enough talent to make another run at the state’s top prize. Senior Michael Schrader (23 goals, 13 assists) and Vince Cicciarelli (21 goals) will lead the offense, with Cody Gilfillan adding a third threat up top after spending most of last year on defense. Senior goalkeeper Jon Andersh (0.57 goals against average) will back a reorganized yet potentially stingy defensive unit. A strong freshman class could also benefit the Irish in their title defense.