Notre Dame gives St. Pius the boot

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Notre Dame again disappointed St. Pius' hopes of advancing to the quarterfinal round of the Class 1 quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory over the offensive juggernaut Saturday afternoon at Notre Dame Regional High School.

Lauren Mehner, the Bulldogs' leading scorer, broke a scoreless deadlock two minutes into the second half to send the Bulldogs on their way to the sectional victory. It was Mehner's third goal in the last two games and 17th of the season.

"It was fitting for Lauren to score that ball," Notre Dame coach Jeff Worley said. "She stays after practice every day all the time and works on that exact shot."

The victory marked the second straight year the Bulldogs blanked St. Pius in the sectional round. Notre Dame won 1-0 last year.

St. Pius (22-2) controlled the ball immediately following the opening kickoff of the second half and generated a scoring chance, but Notre Dame (18-4-2) extinguished the opportunity and created its own. Mehner sprinted down the middle of the field and redirected a pass from Sierra Ellis into the corner of the net.

"Sierra and I have a connection," Mehner said. "She knows what I'm going to do, and I know what she's going to do, and we've been doing it all season."

Mehner, a junior, scored two goals in the Bulldogs' 4-0 district finals victory over St. Vincent.

The stingy Bulldog defense allowed the Lancers only a few shots in the first half as neither team dictated the pace in the opening half.

"Games like this are really kind of a grind, you go back and forth and back and forth," Worley said.

St. Pius coach Dan Bokern said his team was averaging about 50 shots a game coming into the contest. Notre Dame limited the Lancers to less than 10 shots on Saturday. While St. Pius had more opportunities in the game, especially in the waning moments, the Bulldogs generated more quality chances.

"At the very beginning of the game, we would steal balls and then just start kicking it, and we didn't relax," Bokern said.

After assisting on the go-ahead goal, Ellis added some extra cushion 10 minutes later with a goal of her own.

St. Pius outscored its opponents 110 to nine this season and reached the postseason for just the second time in school history.

Bokern admitted his team, while boasting big numbers, may not have been prepared for Notre Dame.

"You're always going to have the argument that if you play better schools all along, but I can't control that once the season starts," Bokern said.

One of the Lancers' victories this season was a 1-0 triumph over Notre Dame.

Bokern said he would not change the team's schedule next year. The St. Pius boys soccer team will drop to Class 1 next year, but there is no word on whether it will affect the girls team.

Notre Dame will take on the winner of Bishop Dubourg (10-11-3) and Vashon (9-4) at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Anheuser-Busch Center in Fenton, Mo.

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