By JOSH WESSLER
Peoria Journal Star
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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