READING, Ohio — For the first time in school history, the Mount Notre Dame High School soccer team is heading to the state championship. The Cougars will face Walsh Jesuit in the Girls Greater Catholic League State Championship game Friday in Columbus.
“Before last year, the farthest we've ever gotten in school history was regional semifinals, which was three games ago,” said head coach Kiersten Roof, “but you look at volleyball, basketball, field hockey, some of those sports are very successful, and it was just kind of something where we finally got to step up and also be part of that too.”
Per school tradition, a team that makes it that far gets a pep rally. Senior and soccer team captain Emma Magness said she remembers attending previous pep rallies, hoping for her shot.
“My freshman year we had a pep rally for basketball, and I was sitting up with my friends at the top of the bleachers and they were like, 'Oh, Emma, your senior year you're going to be down there,'" Magness said.
Another team captain, Emma Frey, said making it to the championship has been the goal from the start of the season.
“We've kind of just had Nov. 12 in the back of our mind.” Frey said. “So just kind of been that thing we come into every practice every day to keep going.”
⚽️🚨 #OHSAA GIRLS SOCCER: The state championships are set for Friday @LowerFieldCbus! And the NEW order of games is now Division II, I, III.— OHSAASports (@OHSAASports) November 10, 2021
🏆1:00 Div. II, Wyoming vs Chagrin Falls
🏆4:00 Div. I, Mt. Notre Dame vs Walsh Jesuit
🏆7:00 Div. III, Waynesville vs Ottawa-Glandorf pic.twitter.com/JAJckT0maK
Mt. Notre Dame is no stranger to success in athletics. Two other sports, field hockey and volleyball, have reached the final four this year. While the field hockey team was knocked out last week the volleyball team plays Thursday. The soccer team is also no stranger to excellence as Olympian and United States Women’s National Team star Rose Lavelle played for the Cougar soccer team when she attended MND.
Roof says the energy around this season has to do with the teams revamped program and a game winning shift in team culture.
"You're putting the team first and the program first and you are going to fight together, be there for each other, encourage each other pick each other up and you're going to do everything together because it's the only way we're ever going to get anything through,” Roof said. “And that seems to have made a difference for us.”
Mt. Notre Dame will play 4 p.m. at the Lower.com Field.