CAPE GIRARDEAU -- A season spent on an upward trend ended on a down note for the Notre Dame girls soccer team Saturday night.
The Bulldogs gave up a goal just more than four minutes into their Class 2 state quarterfinal against Rosati-Kain and eventually lost 6-1.
"It was kind of what I expected," Notre Dame coach Jeff Worley said. "There wasn't any one player. The two previous games we had a 50-plus goal scorer and then a 40-plus goal scorer, and they didn't have that. But you could see the way their scoring was balanced and against the teams that they played, that they could come at you from any position, that they get forward as a team extremely well. And you could see that tonight."
Five different Rosati-Kain players scored in the game.
"They all attacked very well, and they all played defense," Notre Dame senior Brianne Sanders said. "Like I said, we just didn't come out as hard as we could in the very beginning, and I think that kind of threw us off a little bit in our game plan, so we just had to regroup and try to recover."
The Kougars scored their first goal with 35 minutes, 55 seconds left in the first half when senior Tayisah Pohtos buried a ball in the left side of the goal.
"That first goal was a give-and-go, and it was all about the speed of being able to do it," Worley said. "It was a very quick give-and-go. If you're slow about it, you don't get an open look. Theirs was so fast that they got a quick, open look at it. It just makes the shot that much more dangerous."
Pohtos was the only Rosati-Kain player to score twice in the game.
"What we heard was that they played the same kind of game that we did," Pohtos said about her team's preparation for Notre Dame. "Lots of passing and keeping possession rather than just kicking, which is what we saw."
Rosati-Kain added to its lead before the midway point of the half when freshman Christina Niedbalski created space for herself in front of the goal before scoring.
"They definitely came out harder than us in the beginning," Sanders said. "I think we were kind of more laid back and we weren't at the top of our game at the very beginning. That allowed them, definitely, to get ahead in the game early. They put two in extremely early in the game."
Rosati-Kain added two more goals before halftime, one of which came on a penalty kick after an intentional hand ball in the box.
"We talked about at halftime that you can just fold the tents up and say, 'That's it,' but we won't improve that way," Worley said. "We have to go out and continue to try to improve on things, and whatever time we have left we need to make it enjoyable. If we get on each other, if it's going to be your last game, you don't want that to be your memory of the season."
The Bulldogs put together a much-improved season compared to a year ago despite having just two seniors, Sanders and Hali Rendleman, on their roster. They finished 7-9 a year ago and lost to Farmington in the district semifinals.
Notre Dame won both their district and a sectional-round game to finish 13-8 this season.
"Our team was mostly really young. We had a lot juniors and sophomores on this team," Sanders said. "Hali and I being the only seniors, we definitely had to tell them what to do and all that stuff, but they're a great group of girls. They're going to do amazing next year."
Notre Dame's scored the game's final goal with just under 10 minutes left. Sophomore Maddie Baumgart scored after a teammate's shot rebounded off the Rosati-Kain keeper.
"I think it really just happened because our team didn't give up," Baumgart said. "When the ball was rejected the first time, they put it back in. They were just always there, and it just happened that I was the one to poke it in."