CARBONDALE — Saturday’s dreary and chilly weather was no match for the Cape Notre Dame Bulldogs, as they won first place in the 21st annual Carbondale girls’ soccer Fralish Cup Championship after defeating the Marion Wildcats, 5-1.
Rain was in the forecast, but it held off, as soccer fans were able to finally enjoy this year’s Fralish Cup after being rained out the last two years. The tournament was last played in 2016 when Cape Notre Dame finished third.
The Bulldogs earned their way to the championship game following their 5-0 shutout against the host Terriers in the semifinals.
Senior Julia Williams scored the first goal of the game at the 32:45 mark off a corner kick by Livia Wunderlich.
“Offensively we looked to attack the corners,” said Cape Notre Dame coach Ryan Schweain. “Especially at the beginning of the game when we noticed how quick their center back is. We kind of had to draw her out of the play and continue to attack the corners and get those crosses and try to earn some corner kicks.”
Later in the first half, Hannah Miller struck a goal just to the left of Marion goalkeeper Maddie Goodley to give the Bulldogs their second goal of the game.
The Wildcats tried to strike back, but couldn’t get anything going offensively finishing with just two shots on goal in the first half.
“(Cape Notre Dame) passed the ball really well,” said Marion assistant coach Wayne Tate. “They distributed plays out wide and stretched out our defense.”
Marion got on the scoreboard in the second half when junior Nicole Szidik put a shot on goal that tripped up and ricocheted off Bulldogs goalie Caroline Lochman at the 32:45 mark.
Any momentum off Marion’s first goal was quickly taken away by Cape Notre Dame’s defense.
Cape Notre Dame senior Megan Heisserer struck her first of two second half goals for the Bulldogs to help regain their two-goal lead, and they didn’t look back.
“We didn’t change a whole lot at halftime,” said Schweain. “Our only adjustment was stacking the midfield a little bit more than we were at the beginning.”
At the 14:27 mark, senior Kristin Tarno took advantage of a block by Marion goalie Maddie Goodley to pick up the rebound goal and push the Bulldogs lead to 4-1.
That goal put the final nail in the coffin for a Marion team that seemed fatigued throughout the entire match.
Heisserer capped off the game with a gorgeous goal at the 5:00 mark, when she outran three Wildcat defenders to put a perfectly placed ball over the hands of Goodley for her second goal of the game.
“The girls worked hard and we were up against a really tough team,” said Tate. “(Cape Notre Dame) executed a little bit better than we did today, but we had a good tournament and I’m very proud of the way they played.”
Marion finishes second in the tournament after earning their way into the championship game with a 4-0 victory over Sikeston.