Can PND Soccer Meet Challenge?

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PEORIA, Ill. — Soccer practice at Notre Dame in late October.

It means the players’ favorite time of the year is about to begin — the state playoffs.

“It all gears up for the postseason and making a run towards a state championship,” said Notre Dame coach Mike Bare. “It’s all about preparation for the postseason.”

But the Irish aren’t getting too far ahead of themselves. Yes, they are ranked No. 1 in the state and are considered a state championship favorite.

But the coaches have found a way to keep the players in their shoes.

“We remind them often that this group has not won a state championship title yet. It’s been a great group and they are super-talented, a lot of individual accords,” Bare said. “At the end of the day, what they’ll be remembered for us did they win a state title?”

And a state title is all the talk at Notre Dame now. Many of the soccer players watched the boys golf team capture a state title Saturday in Normal.

“It definitely adds to my excitement seeing them succeed. It makes me want to get the state title like they did,” said senior forward Noah Madrigal. “Pretty much the whole soccer team was watching. We said, ‘We can’t wait until we get going.’ It gets us fired up.”

And then they watched how the school saluted them at a pep rally Monday.

“They went out and did it. Being at this assembly makes us want it that much more,” said senior goalkeeper Lucas Fontana. “We are motivated, this whole school wants is to do it, we want to do it.”

The road to a potential title begins Wednesday in regionals.

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