The reigning Class 2 State Champion Cape Notre Dame girls soccer team punched its ticket to this year’s final four once again.
The Bulldogs (22-3-1) did so with a 2-0 shutout win over Rosati-Kain (11-17) on May 23 at home.
“It’s huge and exciting [to return back to state],” Notre Dame’s fourth-year head coach Ryan Schweain said. “The girls are extremely excited. Last year the entire trip [to Kansas City] was so much fun, so they were really wanting to get back this year.”
Leading the way for the Bulldogs was junior forward Megan Heisserer as she was in on both scores.
Heisserer scored the first goal of the game in the 32nd minute in the first half where Notre Dame out shot the Kougars 14-3.
Heisserer was named last year’s Class 2 Player of the Year following the program’s first-ever state title.
The second goal of the game came in the 50th minute as Heisserer found junior Bailey Beussink on a cross pass.
With so many shots on goal for Notre Dame, the game easily could have been lopsided had it not been Rosati-Kain’s speedy defense.
“On other days, we probably would’ve put [most of those shots] in, but I just have a feeling the pressure and the excitement of this game [stressed us out],” Coach Schweain said. “We tried to push the ball instead of place it in the corner.”
One player in particular who gave Notre Dame’s offense problems was senior Miranda Pratt, who Notre Dame head coach Ryan Schweain described as an extremely fast and dangerous player.
The Kougars goalkeeper was also able to make crucial saves throughout the contest, especially in the 18th minute when freshman forward Hannah Miller came up just short of scoring the game’s first goal.
Miller’s shot attempt deflected off Rosati-Kain’s goalie to the players surrounding the goal as Notre Dame got off another shot attempt.
This attempt was also blocked by the Kougars goalie as the ball was then kicked out of bounds by a defender to end the play.
“I thought we had moments where we played well,” Coach Schweain said. “Other times we were rushing passes and there were some turnovers we maybe could’ve avoided. For the most part, we played well.”
Miller continued to produce shot attempts for Notre Dame throughout the game to keep the pressure on Rosati-Kain with a 2-0 lead. She nearly scored one goal in the 55th minute and had two more shots on goal before the 60-minute mark.
“Hannah Miller is a little workhorse,” Schweain said. “She comes in and gives it everything she has for us. She puts a lot of pressure on backs and she is a smart player. She is a lot of fun to watch.”
Heading into state this year, Coach Schweain said things will stay the same since that it is how the Bulldogs were able to claim the title one year ago.
Notre Dame will face St. Pius X this evening with the winner advancing to the state title game to face either Christian or Pleasant Hill.
“This is a great group of girls — they are a lot of fun to coach,” Schweain said. “This has been a low drama team, and they work hard and are smart and skilled soccer players. It’s a pleasure to coach here.”