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Notre Dame regains district crown
The Bulldogs defeated Perryville 3-1 Thursday, a year after relinquishing the title to the Pirates.
The Notre Dame girls soccer team beat Perryville twice during this spring's regular season by a combined score of 6-0.
But Bulldogs players knew they could not think about what happened during the regular season when they played Perryville for the Class 2 District 1 title Thursday.
Senior Mindy Siebert said she and her teammates learned their lesson last year when they beat the Pirates during the season, but lost to them in a shutout in the district championship.
"We didn't come out as hard as we could have, and we thought we had it in the bag," Siebert said about playing Perryville in the 2008 title game. "We thought it was just going to be a blow-away game because we beat them already that year in season. We were already thinking about who we were going to play in sectionals. [This year] we just thought we wanted to beat them because they beat us last year. We wanted to regain the district title. It was just a regular game. We didn't worry about what happened during the season."
Siebert scored twice, including netting the game's first goal almost midway through the first half. Top-seeded Notre Dame won 3-1 over No. 2 Perryville at home.
"I told them they were playing the district champions and that we might be the No. 1 seed, but they're the district champions and we should respect that and that we're playing the district champions until we prove different," Notre Dame coach Jeff Worley said about his pregame chat with his players. "That was the approach we wanted to take."
The Bulldogs (17-3) will play a 6 p.m. quarterfinal game Thursday at Hillsboro High School against the winner of the Class 2 District 2 championship game between Notre Dame of St. Louis and St. Francis Borgia, which will take place today.
"I think we always have last year in the back of our minds," Notre Dame defender Amanda Pleimann said. "We were just ready to come back and show them what we can do."
The Missouri State High School Activities Association added a third class for girls soccer this spring. Having the additional class has created a different playoff format for both Class 1 and 2. The sectional round has been eliminated, so Notre Dame must win only one game -- instead of two previously -- to earn a trip to the final four.
"We've got a very good opportunity," Worley said. "We're certainly capable of winning that next game and being in the final four."
Perryville (10-8) won last year's district championship 1-0 over the Bulldogs on a late second-half goal. The first goal Thursday was scored much earlier. Siebert struck with 21 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the first half.
"It was a relief that we had that 1-0 lead, but we couldn't lay it down because there was 60 minutes left," Siebert said. "We had a whole game left."
Siebert's goal was the only one scored for either team in the first half.
"We played a good first 20 minutes," Perryville coach Stacie Sargent said. "I feel like we kind of controlled the first 20 minutes with a couple exchanges in the midfield."
Notre Dame added to its lead when Brianne Sanders scored about 15:35 into the second half. Siebert scored with less than 4 minutes left to make it 3-0.
"Notre Dame we know swings the ball back and forth across the backfield, anchored by [Alex] Fowler, but we were prepared for that," Sargent said. "We knew even at halftime we were still in the ballgame. The second [goal] hurt and third one was just one that you wish didn't happen, but they pressured so you've got to give them credit."
Cassandra Brown scored Perryville' lone goal with less than 2 minutes remaining.
Notre Dame took 18 shots -- five by Siebert. Notre Dame goalie Brianna Ziegler made two saves. "We didn't want them to get behind us," Pleimann said. "We contained and we didn't dive in. We just wanted to play good balls and not play too much with it in the back, but possess in the back."