Raiders begin title defense by hammering Hawks, set up regional final matchup with Cyclones

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Weather and scheduling conflicts forced the regular-season matchup between the Quincy Notre Dame and Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin girls soccer teams to first be postponed and then shelved.

Nothing will stop them from going head-to-head now.

QND began the defense of its Class 1A state championship by hammering Riverton 8-0 Tuesday night in the Class 1A SHG Regional semifinal. Meanwhile, SHG blasted Springfield Lutheran 7-0 in the other semifinal.

It sets up a regional championship showdown at 5 p.m. Friday at the SHG field.

“We’ll figure out Friday how good SHG is,” QND coach Mark Longo said. “I expect another tough game.”

Last year, the Raiders and Cyclones played to a scoreless tie in the sectional championship before QND advanced by winning a penalty-kick shootout 3-2. The Raiders went on to win the Class 1A state title, their sixth in program history.

“We are the defending champs until we lose,” Longo said. “And we’re not planning on losing Friday.”

The Raiders (15-8-1) will need to stay aggressive like they were against the Hawks.

QND outshot Riverton 38-4, held a 10-1 advantage in corner kicks and led 5-0 by halftime. Senior forward Lia Quintero got the ball rolling as she scored off an Eva Dickerman assist in the 10th minute. Sophomore forward Makayla Patton scored the first of her three goals in the 17th minute off a Quintero assist.

Sophomore midfielder Sage Stratton set up the next two goals, assisting on Patton’s goal in the 20th minute and Avery Keck’s goal in the 33rd minute. Patton completed the hat trick off a Dickerman assist in the 37th minute.

In the second half, Lilly Schuette scored an unassisted goal in the 43rd minute, Anna Keck scored off a Dickerman assist in the 47th minute and Ela Hummel scored off an Ellie Barnes assist in the 52nd minute.

“We did some nice things,” Longo said. “It was a good effort.”

Better yet, the Raiders had no injuries. Two players have been lost this season to knee injuries, three others play with knee braces and another missed nearly a month with a groin injury.

“We’re as healthy as we can be going into our next game,” Longo said.

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