PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Last fall, Notre Dame won the state soccer title.
The scary thing is this year’s team may be better equipped to repeat as champ.
The Irish have scored more times and allowed fewer goals than they did a year ago. And this PND team won a Big 12 Conference title last year’s didn’t.
“I think if you look at our regular season this versus last year, I think we actually performed better this year than last year,” said Notre Dame head coach Mike Bare. “I think we are a little ahead of last year.”
A good chunk of this year’s roster was on last year’s state championship team. But this group of Irish soccer players are trying to do something that’s never been done at Notre Dame.
They’re hoping to win back to back state titles.
“At the start of the season we made it our goal, first to win conference then win back to back state championships,” said senior defender Nathan Oliver. “That’s the striving motivation for this team. As we practice every day, that’s in the back of our minds to strived for the back to back wins.”
Like last year, this PND team is led by high-scoring forward Kayden Hudson. Irish open play at the Bloomington regional against Metamora on Wednesday.
“Since we won it all last year, we said that wasn’t good enough,” said Hudson. “This has been done before. But winning it twice hasn’t. We know this is our goal.”
The Irish know it won’t come easy. But they hope last year’s run to the title pays big dividends over these next three weeks of the postseason.
“Winning a state title in soccer is very difficult. Last year, when we got in difficult moments we found a way to win those games,” said Bare. “Hopefully the experience we have, when we get into those moments, we’ll find a way to win those games.”