Notre Dame (11-2-1) scored four goals in the first half and cruised to the 5-1 home win. Senior Meridith Medlin, who recently signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Three Rivers Community College, scored two goals in a 10-minute span to take the wind out of Sikeston early in the first half.
Sikeston had problems defending the speed of Notre Dame junior forward Mindy Siebert on the outside. At the 11-minute mark, Siebert got free along the baseline and found Medlin with a nice pass for the goal.
Ten minutes later, the Siebert to Medlin connect worked again. Siebert found space along the baseline and made another nice pass to Medlin who put the ball past Sikeston goalie Amber Minner.
Leading 2-0, Notre Dame didn't relax but put more pressure on Sikeston's defense. Once again, Siebert worked free along the baseline and this time found senior midfielder Brooke Beussink open in the mouth for the goal and her third assist of the game.
"No. 12 (Siebert) had a great first half," said Sikeston head coach Derrick Long. "She beat our outside defenders and hurt us a couple of times. Once she got past us, we just got lazy in the box and their No. 7 (Medlin) killed us. On those goals their wasn't much our keeper could do about it."
Notre Dame notched their fourth goal of the first half on a free kick from Charleston native Courtney Luehmann. Sikeston was in a deep 4-0 hole heading into halftime.
"Just a great shot on the free kick," said Long. "Luehmann controlled the game at the midfield for them and she got everybody involved on the offensive end."
Down 4-0, it only got worse for the Bulldogs. Sikeston suffered some possibly key injuries in the game to forward Abbi Keefer and midfielder Jennifer Millington in the first half. Keefer seemed to reaggrevate a hip injury and is day-to-day.
Millington might have suffered the more serious injury for Sikeston. Millington tried to brace herself for a fall by reaching her arm out to the ground. In doing so, Millington landed awkwardly and was in instant pain. The seriousness of her injury was not known at press time, but she was taken to the hospital to be examined.
"We are little banged up right now," said Long. "The girls have played hard all year long and injuries are bound to happen unfortunately. Hopefully, we can get everybody healthy around the start of districts."
Notre Dame did not show any sympathy to Sikeston and kept their offensive pressure going early in the second half. Defender Jordan Radetic scored unassisted at the 58-minute mark to increase the lead to 5-0.
While Sikeston had an awful first half, the girls regrouped and showed some fight in the second half. Sikeston outshot Notre Dame 12-7 in the half after getting outshot 9-2 in the first.
Sikeston tallied their first goal at the 65-minute mark, set up by the tenacity of junior Jordi Ferrell. Outworking several Notre Dame defenders, Ferrell worked the ball into the mouth. Notre Dame goalie Claudia Brauss came out of her goal and tried to secure the ball.
However, Katie DeLaRosa shrugged off the bigger Brauss and found herself with an empty net, into which she put the ball. Sikeston avoided the shutout, but lost the match 5-1.
"We have got to learn to give everything we have when we play a team like Notre Dame," said Long. "We did a good job of playing to a 1-1 draw in the second half and Minner made a couple of good saves in that half. It seems like when we get to the top of the mountain, we see more mountains to climb. We will get there. Our goal from now until district play is to find some answers for Notre Dame's No. 7 (Medlin) and No. 12 (Siebert)."
Sikeston (9-5) host another top notch opponent today at 5 p.m. when the Marion, Ill. Lady Wildcats come calling to the Complex.