Bulldogs reach Class 2 state title game

Saturday, November 16, 2002

FENTON, Mo. -- Before Friday, the Notre Dame Bulldogs had never even played for a chance to play in a state championship.

But thanks to a a 2-0 victory over Marshall (23-3) Friday at the Anheuser-Busch Conference and Sports Centre, Notre Dame will be playing for its first soccer state championship today at 2 p.m..

"Everyone's going crazy," Bulldog midfielder Dustin Tatum said.

Notre Dame defender Jeff Brosey said the team was still in disbelief.

"We just can't believe we're here," he said.

The Bulldogs (19-5) will play St. Francis Borgia (19-6-4), a 1-0 winner over O'Hara in the other semifinal.

"We don't go out there and see a team's record," Brosey said of the other semifinal teams. "We just go out and know we can beat them. We're not really intimidated by any team."

Brosey gave the Bulldogs their first goal when he headed in a pass from Josh Essner around the 30-minute mark. Essner floated a pass across the box, with Brosey making a strong run at the goal to put it away.

"Josh Essner chipped it over the line and I just snuck in and headed it in," Brosey said of his goal.

Tatum said the goal really fired up the Bulldogs who played somewhat tentatively in the first 20 minutes of the game.

"Like usual, once we got our first goal we played a lot better," he said.

Tatum added another goal just five minutes later. Tatum received the pass from Blake Urhahn, and after making a few moves gave Notre Dame a 2-0 lead.

"They were one of the fastest teams we've played," Bulldog coach Brad Wittenborn said. "But we played one of our best games that we played all year."

Tatum said once the Bulldogs went up by two goals they had no plans of letting Marshall back into the game.

"We pretty much controlled the game after that," he said.

The second half was dominated largely by the Notre Dame defense, which only forced goalie Travis Siebert to make six saves overall.

"I was still nervous even with the lead because they have some dangerous players," Wittenborn said. "But I really liked the way we were playing."

Wittenborn said depth was a factor in the 2-0 victory. Notre Dame brought 23 players with them for the trip and every one of them saw action in the shutout.

Brosey said whether they win or lose today, it won't be because of a lack of effort.

"We hope to go out there since it's our last game and give it 110 percent," he said.

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