INDIANAPOLIS -- As the bus carrying the Quincy University women's soccer team home from the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament rolled along Sunday afternoon, Hawks coach Dave Musso had a good sense how his players were feeling.
"Kind of bummed," Musso said. "We really wanted to win and bring back a trophy. So bummed is the right word."
Losing 3-0 to second-seeded McKendree at the University of Indianapolis' Key Stadium might have made the Hawks feel worse if they knew there was no tomorrow.
However, around 5 p.m. Monday, they will learn what seed they will get in the NCAA Tournament's Midwest Regional.
"I would say we're disappointed," senior forward Mackenzie Rief said. "But the NCAA Tournament is something to look forward to. We will be ready for whenever we play."
The Hawks (16-3-1) were second in the region ranking last week. However, top-ranked Grand Valley State and third-ranked Ohio Valley won their respective conference tournaments, putting the No. 2 seed in limbo.
The top two seeds play host to the first and second rounds of the region tournament starting Friday.
"We will do whatever needs to be done and find a way to get over this and use it as fuel for our fire," Musso said. "Hopefully we'll bounce back even stronger."
The only other time the Hawks were shut out -- they suffered a 2-0 loss to Grand Valley State on Sept. 27 -- they responded with 11 consecutive victories.
"We know how to overcome adversity," Rief said. "We have a strong character and won't let anything keep us down."
A one-goal deficit at halftime Sunday didn't deter Quincy.
In the 22nd minute, McKendree's Jane Skaggs collected a loose ball in the middle of the field, and while moving forward, she drilled a 30-yard shot into the upper left corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
"It was just a perfect shot," Musso said.
The Hawks did their best to recover, taking 12 shots in the first 45 minutes and owning a 4-1 edge in corner kicks. Every opportunity, though, seemed to be a step or a bounce off.
"We couldn't connect," Rief said. "We were close. We just missed by a little."
Four minutes into the second half, the Bearcats (15-2-3) made those missed opportunities hurt more.
QU goalkeeper Megan Swanson saved Chelsea Whittaker's shot, but Alynnah O'Leary jumped on the rebound and poked it past the defense for a 2-0 lead.
"That changes things," Musso said. "We have to throw more people forward."
That led to a counterattack and the clinching goal in the 82nd minute as Sydnee Carroll scored on a breakaway for McKendree.
"This is going to sting for a few days," Musso said. "We know we're good enough to do it, but it wasn't our day."
There won't be much time to dwell.
Once the Hawks know their seed and their path, they can get to work on rebounding from a disappointing loss.
"This is a great team, and we have great leaders," Musso said. "We're going to get over this."
McKendree 3, Quincy 0
14 Shots 19
10 Saves 6
1 Corners 7
4 Fouls 7
1 Offsides 1
McKendree 1 2--3
Quincy 0 0--0
M--Jane Skaggs (unassisted), 22:03
M--Alynnah O'Leary (Chelsea Whittaker), 49:10
M--Sydnee Carroll (unassisted), 81:27