Raiders seek payback against Cyclones in rematch of last season’s regional title game


Quincy Notre Dame junior forward Makayla Patton has scored five postseason goals in leading the Raiders into Tuesday's Class 1A sectional championship game against Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin in Riverton, Ill. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same.

In 2023, the Quincy Notre Dame girls soccer team reached the Class 1A Sacred Heart-Griffin Regional championship game, but the host Cyclones upended the Raiders 4-2. This was the final game of Mark Longo’s 34-year career as the Raiders’ head coach.

Longo passed the torch to Mark Thomas this season, but a familiar foe stands in QND’s way.

The Raiders face the Cyclones with the season on the line as they square off at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Class 1A Riverton Sectional title game at Riverton Middle School.

While freshman defender Sierra Thomas was in junior high when the Cyclones ended QND’s reign as state champions, she and the rest of the Raiders want to send SHG a strong message.

“I think everyone really just wants to get revenge, stick it to them and say, ‘Hey, we’ve improved,’” she said. 

Mark Thomas understands the challenge of facing the top-seeded Cyclones, who have outscored their opponents 23-1 in their first three postseason games.

“SHG is very good in the midfield and has a lot of girls who can score,” Thomas said. “They are always a quality opponent.”

The Raiders will be without junior midfielder Liesel Vincent, who suffered a sprained MCL in the first half of Friday’s sectional semifinal. Alena Thomas and Meredith Eversman filled Vincent’s spot in the Raiders’ 1-0 overtime victory over Alton Marquette.

“That (injury) affects our rotation, but the girls have stepped up and we expect the same against SHG,” Mark Thomas said.

In addition to the 20 minutes of overtime, the Raiders and Explorers had to wait out a 30-minute lightning delay at the end of regulation. A game that started shortly after 6 p.m. ended just shy of 9 p.m. Add in about a two-hour bus ride, and that results in a late night.

“We got back (to Quincy) around 11 p.m.,” Mark Thomas said. “Everyone was tired and sore but very happy with our effort that night.”

It’s going to take a similar effort on Tuesday. While the Raiders have some business to take care of at school beforehand, they will have plenty of time to turn their attention to their upcoming task on the soccer field.

“The girls have final exams and will get out early,” Mark Thomas said. “We will have team lunch and leave QND at 2 p.m. to head to Riverton.”

While it likely won’t be as late of a night this time around, the Raiders would be pleased with another happy bus ride home if they can exorcise last season’s demons.

“We are excited to represent QND and our community and hope to bring back another win,” Mark Thomas said.

Miss Clipping Out Stories to Save for Later?

Click the Purchase Story button below to order a print of this story. We will print it for you on matte photo paper to keep forever.

Related Articles