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Notre Dame girls soccer wins first district championship since 2019

Notre Dame freshman Erika West scored one of her team’s goals in a 6-0 shutout of Cape Central to win the Class 3 District 1 Championship. Photo by Nick McNeal

The last time the Notre Dame girls soccer team had made it to the state final four or even won a district championship was prior to the coronavirus pandemic back in 2019.

All of that changed when the No. 1 seeded Bulldogs (15-6) handled each of their three Class 3 District 1 Tournament opponents by a combined score of 18-0. This included a 6-0 shutout of No. 2 seed Cape Central (13-6) for the district title on May 17, which was the same team Notre Dame only beat by a goal to start the season.

One key has been a stable of underclassmen like freshman Erika West stepping up in big ways for the Bulldogs all season. She finished each game of district play with either a goal or assist as she scored one goal in the championship match.

“It means a lot to me and it has been a privilege to play with such an amazing group of girls,” West said. “I think the key to success has been our teamwork and unselfishness. We came out ready to play with lots of energy and positivity.”

Leading Notre Dame in the district title match with a hat trick was sophomore Maya Thebeau. Along with West, junior Cora Burford and sophomore Mia Panton also scored a goal apiece.

Interestingly enough, this isn’t Erika’s first district championship in her first year at Notre Dame as she won one with the tennis team back in the fall.

“Winning the tennis district championship felt so good after all the hard work our team had put in to finally get to that point,” West said. “Putting in the effort takes a lot of hard work, but the result makes it all worth it.”

Even though she’s primarily a forward, West has played all over the field for the Bulldogs this spring. One reason was due to the injuries of junior leaders Addison Clippard and Skylar Craft, who are now back.

“I think I have improved because my coach and teammates have pushed me to play at a higher level and given me great opportunities,” West said. “I experienced many great chances to help my team, whether it was playing a different position or even getting the opportunity to play goalie.”

In the district tournament, West also scored a goal in Notre Dame’s 4-0 win over No. 5 seed Sikeston (12-12). Clippard led the matchup with a game-high two goals and an assist as Thebeau scored the other.

The Bulldogs took on Cor Jesu Academy (18-4) with a trip to state on the line in the Class 3 quarterfinal on Saturday (paper was put out on Friday due to Memorial Day).

“I think that our team will come out strong and play to the best of our ability and use the momentum we’ve had in previous wins.”

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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