Team basks in glow of program’s third title

Women’s soccer team already focused on next year

The women's soccer team celebrates its Class 2A State title.

Lindsey Douglas

The women’s soccer team celebrates its Class 2A State title.

Annika Garwood, Sports Editor

The women’s varsity soccer team wrapped up a successful season with a 13-4-4 record and topped it off with the 2A State title. They defeated second ranked South Bend St. Joseph at Carroll Stadium at IUPUI to earn the program’s third State title. 

So now the focus shifts to defending that title.

Head Coach and theology teacher Mr. Marc Behringer ’84 described the downfall of scoring in the first 93 seconds of the game caused. 

“As a fan, I was as excited as everyone rooting for the Irish. However, as a coach, earning a goal inside of the first two minutes brings its challenges. Specifically, a team’s mindset can become passive and overly defensive. Trying to do nothing but defend for 78 minutes would have been a poor strategy, so the coaches encouraged the players to attack whenever possible. A goal by St. Joseph would have not only leveled the match at 1-1, but the momentum would have been on their side as well,” he said. 

For Behringer, the game went by quickly because of the analyzing he was doing of the St. Joseph squad but also for his own team. “Throughout the match, the coaches were monitoring the other team’s strategy in order to make sure we countered any moves they made. We also were monitoring our players on the field to look for opportunities to get them breaks and try other options we had by substituting in the hope of gaining an advantage.”

In the final moments, the coaching staff made sure to stay encouraging to the players on the field until the final buzzer sounded. 

Behringer said he celebrated with the other coaches and watched the players rejoice on the field, his personal favorite thing to do as a coach. “I just stand and let their joy wash over me,” he said. “Their joy is why I coach.”

Because of the large number of senior players on the roster, Behringer said their role on the team was to drive the younger members in a way that would help everyone perform their best. “The seniors shared with me their goal of winning the State championship quite quickly after last season ended. The seniors chose the mantra “Unfinished Business” that was written across the backs of their warmup shirts as a means of keeping the goal in front of them all year,” he said. 

As for the current Junior Class, which will next year be the leaders of the team, Behringer said they have “enormous shoes to fill. I expect they will take what they learned from this year’s Senior Class and figure out how to be fantastic servant leaders in their own unique way as a group and as individuals.”

For the offseason, Behringer said it starts with the upcoming seniors. 

“Our preparation begins with the individual player meetings and with a meeting with the rising seniors as a group. Once the seniors have set goals, the work begins to achieve those goals. While the players do off-season work to sharpen their skills, the coaches begin brainstorming possible systems of play that will work best for the upcoming season. This process lasts throughout the winter, spring and early summer until tryouts.” 

The team took on a very difficult schedule, one the Behringer said the program has had for a while and is unlikely to change. “Playing such a challenging schedule prepares us well for the tournament. We will play in the 2A tournament again next year. If we have similar success, we would be required to move up to 3A the following season,” Behringer said. 

As Behringer mentioned, the players and coaches are thankful for the support the students, staff and parents provided. “Having such a large student block at the State game created an experience to remember for the entire program.Thank you, Cathedral,” the coach said. 

Senior Sophia Saucerman plans to attend DePauw next fall to play soccer and study kinesiology. Her pivotal role as goalkeeper helped lead to the ultimate success of the team. More importantly, Saucerman said the team is a huge sisterhood and “everyone connected so well this year and it is truly an unbreakable bond.”

She hopes that the seniors showed the younger girls “what a true family looks like and how to not only be great leaders but people that growing players can look up to.”

Saucerman said that the success of the team could not have been possible without each one of the players. “Everyone played a key role not only throughout the season but through every game in the tournament.”

Junior Maddie Wirth played a key role in every game, but most importantly the State championship match. She was the player to score the winning goal with less than two minutes of the clock. 

Wirth said, “Having scored just 93 seconds into the game, I would have never thought that that would be the deciding factor. However, finishing that shot really set the tone for the game. We came out very fast and caught them on their heels and we were able to take advantage of it. We then had the lead the whole game and they were chasing for their goal all game. But thankfully, it never came.”

Along with Saucerman, Wirth said the team is extremely close. “We all get along so well and there isn’t one person ever left out. I don’t know, it’s just so nice having so many people looking after you and who want the best for you. We really are best friends.” 

Wirth said the goals of the next season are the same, but with a State title comes a major target on the team’s back. 

“As a senior, I hope we win State again. High expectations, I know, but we definitely can do it. We have plenty returning talent, great team chemistry and our Semistate and State competitors have been moved into 3A for next year. We have great odds in our favor but now a huge target on our back. Instead of chasing everyone as the underdog, we are now at the top being chased. It’s gonna be tough, but I’m already excited.”