| Cincinnati Enquirer
Like other teams, Notre Dame Academy is figuring it out and rounding into form as the postseason begins next week.
“Finishing,” said head coach David Gronotte. “The thing that typically takes the longest to come around is scoring goals. Finishing is always the hardest part of the game, and that has taken us some time to get ramped up but I think it’s coming around now.”
Notre Dame is 11-2 heading into the regular-season finale at Beechwood Wednesday night. The Pandas have averaged 4.4 goals in those wins.
The two defeats have come from nemesis Highlands by shutout scores of 1-0 and 2-0 in mid-September. Highlands has been the state runner-up the past two years.
“Our season was cut short but we work hard and put in time after practice to work on our shooting,” said senior Lauren Carothers said. “Definitely the beginning of the season was scary because we didn’t know how the season was going to go. We could have lost our last season. I’m glad we got to play. All the seniors have been super close this year because we didn’t know if we were going to have a season.”
Carothers, the reigning Ninth Region offensive player of the year, has 11 goals and four assists this year. Senior Iris Schuh has 10 goals and nine assists. Both of them scored twice in a 5-1 win at Dixie Heights Oct. 3. Eleven different Pandas have found the net this year.
“They ‘ve been doing great,” Gronotte said. “’LAC’ (Carothers) is a leader for us for a couple of years now. She controls the middle of the field for us and she’s so dangerous shooting. Iris is a weapon outside. She found a way in today to take a couple of chances and finish. She made some nice runs in and we do a nice job of finding her.”
Outside of the two losses to Highlands, the goal scored by Dixie was the only one that Pandas have allowed this season. NDA has outscored its foes 48-4 overall. Kate Moore has played the bulk of the time in goal with three complete-game shutouts and partnering with Sarah Witt on the other seven.
“We have 10 seniors,” Gronotte said. “They’ve really bonded well together. We’ve played some really solid teams and I’m happy where we are right now. Great leadership from the top. The seniors provided great leadership for everybody and they get along really well.”
NDA figures to be a heavy favorite in the 35th District next week but they know they have to be at their peak to have a chance in the Ninth Region tournament.
“We just need to work hard in practice, keep up the intensity and play our game,” Carothers said. “I think we have a good chance at the postseason.”