By MATT SCHUCKMAN
Herald-Whig Sports Editor
Mark Longo didn't sugarcoat anything.
"We're not very good right now," the Quincy Notre Dame girls soccer coach said. "That's just the truth."
He doesn't foresee that being the way six weeks from now.
"We have a long way to go, a long way to go," Longo said. "With the right work ethic and attitude, I think we'll be OK at the end."
That's as long as the Lady Raiders shore up their defense.
Helias scored four goals in the first 24 minutes, responded to QND tying the game at 4 by scoring just 21 seconds later and took advantage of the Lady Raiders' inexperience and tentativeness.
"We didn't come out ready to play," QND senior midfielder Abby Grawe said. "That was our biggest downfall."
The Crusaders exposed that early.
Less than four minutes into the game, the Lady Raiders were unable to fully clear a ball played deep into the penalty area. The ball ended up on the foot Helias midfielder Taylor Hagenhoff, who lofted a shot from 35 yards out that QND keeper Grace Horman didn't judge correctly and had slip in under the crossbar.
The Crusaders' Tiffany Weaver outmuscled a defender for possession and scored in the 14th minute, while Jordan Poire made it 3-0 with her goal in the 16th minute.
"We're definitely not used to this," Grawe said.
QND allowed 10 goals last season in winning the Class 1A state championship and never gave up more than two in a single game. In fact, QND hasn't allowed more than three goals in any game for at least the last five seasons.
"We have to learn from it," senior foward Jordan Frericks said. "That's what we're planning on doing."
The key is to learn how to keep an opposing forward off the ball.
"Our defenders were letting their forwards do whatever they want," Longo said. "Usually, we're in their back and winning the ball. We were letting them get the ball. Then they touch off and they go and you're kind of in trouble."
Although admittedly stunned by a three-goal deficit, the Lady Raiders battled.
Frericks scored off a Cassidy Foley corner kick to make the deficit 3-1 before Weaver scored again in the 24th minute, leading to change in keepers with Julie Rabe replacing Horman.
It seemed to spark QND.
Frericks headed in another Foley corner kick in the 29th minute, leaving Helias coach Brad Dempsey shaking his head.
"She scored a professional soccer goal with her head," Dempsey said. "Wow."
Frericks finished the hat trick in the 39th minute by running onto a ball Foley played through the defense and hitting a shot while sliding that curled into the far post.
The resiliency carried over to the second half.
In the 59th minute, Foley took a restart from the right wing and played it to the far post, where Grawe used her body to knock it down and knock it in to tie the game.
"We never want to give up," Grawe said. "That's the biggest thing in the game. You just have to want it."
Helias showed it did.
Just 21 seconds after Grawe scored, the Crusaders' Meghan Nappier jumped on a ball misplayed by the Lady Raiders and buried it for the go-ahead goal.
"People who need to step up defensively for us didn't," Longo said.
Helias made it a two-goal edge with Kendall Smith's goal in the 75th minute, and although Grawe converted a penalty kick in the 77th minute, QND couldn't get the equalizer.
"We need to come out ready to play and work together as a team," Grawe said. "We need to talk more and work harder. If we go out there and do those things, we'll be a little bit better the next game."
Longo fully expects Tuesday when QND faces Quincy High School at Flinn Stadium.
"Each of those goals came off something you can correct with the right attitude and the right work ethic," he said. "It just shows we have a lot of work to do."