The Notre Dame boys' soccer team's seniors have been on their fair share of 1-0 scores in Class A/AA sectional matches. This year, though, they were on the winning side of one.
The Irish's Nick McGirl scored a goal in the 12th minute, and Notre Dame was able to hold off Boyd-Buchanan by that margin to advance to its first state tournament since 2007. The Irish had their last two seasons end in sectional matches, last season to East Hamilton and the year before to the Bucs.
McGirl found himself wide open on a corner kick, and his header gave the Irish the cushion they needed, although it wasn't easy against a Boyd-Buchanan team that put pressure on the Irish defense throughout the match.
"We played very well in the first 20 minutes, but then I thought we started to panic some," Notre Dame coach Jim Schermerhorn said. "I didn't think we played as well as we could -- we could have created more chances -- but Boyd-Buchanan played well."
That anxiety nearly led to a tying goal in the first half, as a ball once bounced around in the box, right in front of the goal, before being knocked out at the final moment. The Bucs continued to pressure with some opportunities in the second half as well but were unable to push a goal past the Irish defense.
The physical affair wasn't without injury, as both Notre Dame's Ian Sullivan and Boyd-Buchanan's Ian Pilgrim both went out and were unable to return.
"We're proud of the guys," Boyd-Buchanan coach Dustin Walker said. "They played hard to the final whistle, and that's one thing about Boyd-Buchanan soccer: We're going to play you hard for 80 minutes.
"We have no regrets."
In a sense, the Irish already have gone through the hard part of advancing through to the state tournament. Although it won't get any easier the rest of the way, there is a sense of relief that they're finally going to be in the state running.
"The guys' confidence is high, and we're going to train and try to get to the next round," Schermerhorn said. "Now that we're in state, we can settle down and relax when we play on Tuesday."