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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