Sikeston hands ND 4 OT loss in title contest

Saturday, November 6, 2004

Notre Dame suffered a season-ending 3-2 loss and a big injury.

By Toby Carrig ~ Southeast Missourian

Friday night was doubly devastating for Notre Dame athletics.

Members of the top-seeded Notre Dame boys soccer team had to watch Sikeston celebrate that school's first district championship in the sport after a 3-2 double overtime decision on Notre Dame's field.

And both the soccer team and the boys basketball program suffered blows when senior Bryce Willen suffered an leg injury at the end of the first overtime period.

"That was devastating for us. It was devastating for basketball," said Notre Dame coach Brad Wittenborn, concerned that Willen may have torn ligaments in his right knee.

Willen was taken from the field on a cart and went to a local hospital.

Willen's injury came as he pressured Sikeston keeper Scott Droddy along the end line in the closing seconds of the period. He managed to get off a shot that hit the side of the net before the collision with Droddy. Notre Dame had another good chance to capture the Class 2 District 1 title in the second overtime when Jake Wedemier and Mark Unterreiner broke in on goal, but Unterreiner's shot from the right side went wide left.

"We missed a couple good chances in overtime," Wittenborn said. "In the second half and overtime, I thought we played extremely well."

But Sikeston was better, and Willen's absence was costly on Sikeston's winning goal -- a header on a corner kick.

"He's our best guy as far as going up in the air," Wittenborn said of Willen.

Sophomore Blake Taylor scored the winning goal on an assist from J.R. Bizzell.

Sikeston (12-10-1), which had lost to Notre Dame twice by 1-0 scores in the regular season, kept the Bulldogs reeling most of the night.

Sophomore Chris Carnell fired a shot off Notre Dame's right post in the first15 minutes but the first half ended in a scoreless deadlock.

A little more than one minute into the second half, Sikeston scored with Bizzell sending in a corner kick and E.C. Atchison converting.

Notre Dame (11-13) responded in the 63rd minute when Willen scored on an assist from Frankie Ellis.

Within one minute of that, Bizzell scored with an assist from Carnell, who took advantage of a Notre Dame defensive misplay on a long Sikeston kick.

With Sikeston on the verge of celebrating, Willen and Ellis teamed up again with 8:10 to play. This time, Ellis scored the goal on Willen's assist.

Sikeston again kept up the pressure, nearly scoring early in the OT on a header which was cleared from the goal line by Andrew Buelow.

"We take pride in the way our kids back each other up," Wittenborn said. "Both teams gave a good effort tonight. They did a better job in the air tonight."

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