FAIRFIELD — Forty minutes didn’t determine a winner Monday afternoon between Masuk and host Notre Dame-Fairfield on the pitch.
Maybe a matchup in the South-West Conference tournament final next week would settle things? A lot would have to happen, but both girls soccer teams are seemingly ready for postseason play regardless of the opposition after playing to a 0-0 tie.
“As long as we can stay healthy, stay positive and stay focused and motivated, I think the girls have a great opportunity to create a big movement in (the Class L state tournament) and a big movement here in the SWC,” Masuk coach Jason Goleski said. “It’s a matter of who will go out and take it.”
Said Notre Dame coach Wayne Mones: “I think we have been building all year. We are healthy, 15 players on the roster, 13 that play. We need some breaks. Luck has to go your way.”
The Panthers (10-3-3) had more opportunities, outshooting Notre Dame 12-7, but Notre Dame goalkeeper Tia Pascarelli came up with five saves.
“Usually when you are late to the ball, someone makes you pay. They didn’t make us pay,” Mones said. “When you have a goalkeeper like we do, there is nothing cheap. You have to earn it with a good shot.”
Notre Dame (11-2-3) likely earned the No. 2 seed with the tie, while Masuk is likely the fourth seed. SWC tournament pairings didn’t become official until late Monday night.
The tournament quarterfinals are scheduled to begin on Friday.
The showdown between future Division I players Kacey Lawrence from Masuk (Michigan) and Toni Domingos from Notre Dame (Maryland) never materialized. Both players had their chances to get the first goal.
Domingos had the best opportunity out of anyone. Masuk defender Susan Matthews (heading to Iona) took Domingos down in the box in the 11th minute, awarding a penalty kick. Domingos knocked it off the post, then the next shot went far over the net.
Rachel Hersch marked Domingos most of the game with Matthews shadowing her. Yamani McCollough stayed with Lawrence.
“I pulled (McCullough) out of a hallway (at Notre Dame) halfway through the season,” Mones said. “She is a basketball player. She did a tremendous job defending (Lawrence). They did a tremendous job marking Toni). Neither of us could make a big play, but we both fought like hell.”
Notre Dame couldn’t make good on its four corner kick attempts in the second half. Masuk goalkeeper Elizabeth DiBlasi only has to make one save.
Stars of the game
Both defenses: In particular McCollough from Notre Dame and Hersch from Masuk. Any time you can keep Lawrence and Domingos off the scoreboard, you have done well.
“To play two games at home in the quarters and semis is a real advantage. It doesn’t guarantee anything. These eight teams are so close, you look for any little edge that can separate you.”
— Notre Dame soccer coach Wayne Mones
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