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Late PK helps end Bulldogs' season
Notre Dame lost 1-0 in the Class 2 quarterfinals.
HILLSBORO -- Notre Dame freshman Brianne Sanders didn't say anything to goalie Brianna Ziegler before Notre Dame St. Louis attempted a critical penalty kick in a scoreless tie.
"I was praying," Sanders said. "I don't know about anyone else."
Sanders' prayers weren't answered.
Rebels sophomore Michelle Auer buried her penalty kick with 5 minutes, 18 seconds left in the second half to propel her team past the Bulldogs 1-0 in a Class 2 state quarterfinal girls soccer game Thursday.
"I don't look the goalie in the eyes," Auer said of her preparation for the penalty kick. "I don't let her see my face. I always go to the right corner."
Auer launched a low missile past Ziegler for the game's lone goal.
"I tell myself to keep it low," Auer said. "I hit it with the side of my foot. I just say, 'Keep it low.'"
The penalty kick came after the Bulldogs (17-4) were whistled for a handball in the box.
"For a game to be that close and for the winning team to have to win off a PK, that's a cheap win to me," Bulldogs senior Molly Proffer said.
The Bulldogs tried to apply pressure after Auer's goal and managed to create a couple of decent chances, but they couldn't snare the equalizer.
"We sent extra players forward and we got some plays down there and good looks out of it," Bulldogs coach Jeff Worley said. "To have a call go that way with 5 minutes to go, it would be really easy to lose your composure and not give yourself opportunities."
The game played out much differently than the first time the schools met this season. The Bulldogs scored three first-half goals and downed the Rebels 4-0 on May 7. That game fueled the Rebels' passion in Thursday's rematch.
"We were saying that they're going to come into the game thinking it's going to be an easy game and we have to go 10 times harder," Auer said. "We knew it wasn't a 4-0 game."
Worley said he wasn't worried about his team entering the quarterfinal with too much confidence.
"I really liked the way we prepared," he said. "We had fantastic practices the last week. They knew they were better. I liked the way we warmed up. We came out prepared. We did what we needed to do. I don't think we took anything lightly as far as how the last game went."
Proffer said the Bulldogs expected a greater challenge Thursday because of what was on the line.
"Playing in a quarterfinal game is way different," she said. "Everybody's going to be on their game. Everybody's going to be working hard. Everybody wants to go to state."
The Bulldogs dominated the pace in the opening 10 minutes, but the Rebels quickly settled down and neither team was able to gain an advantage. The Rebels had the best scoring chance in the first half when they smacked a shot off the middle of the crossbar in the closing two minutes.
The teams played an even second half as well, with both sides enjoying a couple of decent scoring chances. But neither team could jump ahead until the costly handball with just over 5 minutes left.
"We knew they were going to be coming out hard and we knew they were going to be coming out to get us, so we knew we were going to have to play harder than last game," Proffer said.