Raiders pass first postseason exam as Patton leads goal-scoring barrage in regional title game


Quincy Notre Dame's Makayla Patton, left, battles Auburn's Alyssa Courtney for a ball in the air during Wednesday's Class 1A regional championship game at Advance Physical Therapy Field. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — If the postseason is supposed to feel like a series of final exams — Quincy Notre Dame girls soccer coach Mark Thomas described it as such — then Wednesday night’s Class 1A regional championship must have felt like a multi-choice test.

How goals were the second-seeded Raiders going to score against third-seeded Auburn?

A: Three goals?

B: Five goals?

C: Seven goals?

Well, “C” is universally the most common answer, and in this case, it’s the correct one. Junior forward Makayla Patton scored off a corner kick less than four minutes into the game at Advance Physical Therapy Field as the Raiders advanced with a 7-0 victory.

“I thought we passed really well and we kept the ball on the ground,” said Patton, who finished with four goals. “We didn’t kick it over when we got into stressful spots, which is how we should play and which is how Coach has been telling us to play all season. We kept that stress under control.”

In doing so, QND moves on to a tougher exam.

The Raiders (10-12) will face Alton Marquette (14-7-1) at 6 p.m. Friday in the semifinals of the Riverton Sectional. Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (18-5) meets Greenville (23-3-1) in the other semifinal at 4 p.m. Friday.

“We know that Friday’s game is going to be harder,” Patton said. “If we have the same energy that we had out here tonight, I think we can do it.”

Although the Raiders went 2-8 in their final 10 regular-season games, nine were against Class 2A or 3A opponents in order to get them ready for the postseason grind.

“You prepare and prepare and prepare, and we’ve done all this work just like you have the whole school year academically,” Thomas said. “Now it’s test time. It doesn’t matter how you get it done as long as you pass. But we thought we could do really well in this game and we showed that, so I’m pretty happy.”

Having gone nine days between games made it a little challenging to get the right rhythm established, but the Raiders eventually did.

Sage Stratton scored on a blistering shot from 20 yards out, and Patton netted her second goal with less than four minutes remaining in the first half to go up 3-0 at halftime. Patton scored off an Ellison Barnes pass 30 seconds into second half and added her fourth goal with 23 minutes to play.

“She had some nice finishes,” Thomas said. “I really liked one of her last goals when she took a touch and tucked it away. She’s been working on some things like that and it’s good to see. We had some good passing and good possession that set up our goals.”

Having the regional title game delayed a day by weather didn’t interrupt the flow.

“We knew we had to keep our energy up both ways,” Patton said. “We didn’t know if we’d play in rain or 75-degree heat. Either way, our energy was really good.”

Addie Flesch and Ali Meyer scored the Raiders’ final two goals as they earned the 24th regional championship in program history.

“We get to keep going and our season doesn’t come to an end,” Patton said.

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