Herald-Whig

Stingy Raiders blank pair of foes in showcase

Quincy Notre Dame forward Isabella Anderson, top, battles Wheaton Academy's Amy Alexander, bottom, for a header as the Warriors' AC Hardy, left, looks on during Saturday's game at Advance Physical Therapy Field. | H-W Photo/Jake Shane
By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 5, 2019 12:10 am Updated: May. 5, 2019 12:13 am

QUINCY -- Quincy Notre Dame girls soccer coach Mark Longo tried to be as accommodating as possible to the teams in the QND Showcase when some scheduling alterations had to be made.

His team wasn't nearly as hospitable.

The Raiders clamped down on Wentzville (Mo.) Timberland and Wheaton Academy, limiting them to a combined two shots on goal as QND posted a pair of 2-0 victories Saturday at Advance Physical Therapy.

It capped an 18-hour span in which the Raiders shut out three opponents for 220 minutes, outscored those opponents by 11 goals and looked primed for the jump to Class 2A this postseason. QND plays two road games -- at Quincy High School on Tuesday and at St. Dominic in O'Fallon, Mo., on Friday -- before regional play begins.

"I love it when we all play really well together and we play as a team," QND senior defender Madison K. Meyer said. "That makes it look beautiful. I love playing beautiful soccer with my team. Shutouts and wins don't mean anything if you're playing bad. You have to play well to make it count."

The Raiders (20-2) did that from start to finish.

Originally scheduled to only play Wheaton Academy on Saturday, QND agreed to also face Timberland when Champaign St. Thomas More was forced to withdraw from the event. The Raiders beat Timberland 2-1 a month ago in the Parkway Showcase in St. Louis, rallying from a one-goal deficit.

"I asked an awful lot of my kids," Longo said. "Those were two pretty good programs we faced. I think we dominated Timberland. I don't think we gave up a serious shot on goal. The same thing happened against Wheaton Academy. I can't think of a dangerous moment. We worked well together."

Having complete control of the midfield helped.

The combination of Maddie and Ellie Peters in the middle, Taylor Keck and Meredith Siebers on the wings and a stout back line allowed the Raiders to apply relentless pressure. It's how the first goal against Wheaton Academy developed.

Ellie Peters stepped forward to eliminate an opportunity for the Warriors to clear the ball, and it wound up on Isabella Anderson's foot. She touched the ball back to Erin Barnes, who whistled a left-footed rocket into the far side net for a 1-0 lead 10 minutes into the game.

In the second half, McKenna Little doubled QND's lead, taking a cross from Morgan Evans, turning and lacing a shot into the lower left corner of the net.

"We know if we can keep our effort pretty high and pretty consistent through these three games it boosts our confidence," said Evans, a junior midfielder. "We really didn't have a bad half. All of our halves were pretty good and our effort was good."

Against Timberland, Anderson beat the defense on a run and tucked away her shot for a 1-0 lead just 2:45 into the game. In the second half, off a restart from the left wing, Evans drilled a low liner into the far side of the net for a 2-0 advantage.

"It's really nice when we can let our forwards be forwards and be more offensive forwards than defensive forwards," Meyer said. "Defense is in charge of making sure you get the shutout, that you get it cleared out of the box. The forwards are in charge of scoring, so it's nice when they can be a forward and not have to come back on defense all of the time."

The defense is doing its job as well. QND has 16 shutouts this season and eight straight.

"The defenders attacked themselves, too," Longo said.

That's why it was a complete effort.

"It sets up perfect every year that we play these good teams in our showcase and are ready for what comes next," Longo said. "There's a lot to like about what we did."