PEORIA, Ill. — The Peoria Notre Dame girls soccer team had big goals for the 2020 spring season. The Irish finished in the Elite Eight during the previous three seasons, and they had their eyes set on making a trip to state this year. The 12 PND seniors are holding out hope that they can get on the field at some point this year.
“When we had to tell them that our season was suspended, it was the hardest talk I’ve ever had to give, including the last three years talking to our seniors after the super sectional game,” PND head coach Ben Ralph said. “They’ve done everything right, and it’s very difficult to look them in the face and tell them that their season is suspended”
“We’ve been looking forward to our senior year for a long time with such a big class,” Irish senior Kieran Higgins said. “We’ve all been playing with each other since first or second grade. Knowing that we may not be able to play one more time with each other, it’s heartbreaking.”
“This year, we just felt like we were going to get there again and we were going to win,” Irish senior Tessa Little said. “Just having that taken away, it’s just indescribeable.”
“I think it’s been hard for the whole team, especially the seniors,” Irish senior Chloe Fleeman said. “Our end goal is always to get to that state tournament, and not having even the opportunity to work towards that has been really tough for all of us.”
“I think adversity has really pushed us further, so I think by getting through this adversity, we’ll just become stronger, and in the end it’s all gonna work out,” Irish senior Adyson Franked added.
“We’re keeping faith and really praying we can get on the field again,” Little said. “I would take one game, for sure. Even a half, at least.”
“This is a part of your attitude. Taking punches in life. And it’s the same thing with the girls, they can’t control what’s going on right now,” Ralph added. “All they can worry about is taking care of their bodies, making sure they are staying healthy, doing all the right things. Controlling what they can control.”