In a season filled with one-goal matches and shootouts, Notre Dame soccer coach Jim Schermerhorn and assistants David Weikel and Emily Cornett have learned to accept that nothing comes easily for a defending state champion.
So it was no surprise that the Lady Irish's A/AA state quarterfinal went into overtime, yet a relief due to the final outcome.
Blair Barker and Sophie Mullin had goals in the extra time frames Wednesday, and the third-ranked Lady Irish advanced to today's state semifinal with a 2-0 victory over Madison at Chattanooga Christian.
Class A/AA State Quarterfinal
NOTRE DAME 2, MADISON 0 (OT)
Halftime score: 0-0. Goals: Blair Barker, Sophie Mullin. Assists: Gaby Gurrola, Lacey Mahoney. Shots on goal: Notre Dame, 8-4. Saves: Michaela Connors 6 (M); Grace Courter 4 (ND). Records: Notre Dame 8-11-2; Madison 17-4.
Notre Dame (8-11-2) will face Christ Presbyterian Academy, which beat Gatlinburg-Pittman 4-2, at 4:30.
The Lady Mustangs (17-4) had their chances in regulation, as Lady Irish keeper Grace Courter punched a 30-yard Amber Elmore shot over the crossbar in the first half and a dangerous cross by Hannah Borntrager slid just past the feet of two teammates in the second half.
"If either shot goes in, it's a completely different game," Madison coach Will Hanna said.
Notre Dame also some dangerous chances. Madison keeper Michaela Connors stopped two Austin Nelson shots right in front of the goal, and Barker had a first-half attempt that hit the crossbar.
In the second half, an Erin Freeman corner kick hooked in, was tipped by Connors and glanced off the side post.
"We had a lot of shot opportunities. We just couldn't finish," Schermerhorn said. "I'm not upset with how we played. We created chances -- had everything except for the score to show for it."
In the first 10-minute overtime, a Gaby Gurrola corner kick bounced around in the box. Barker got a toe on the ball and it crept it for a 1-0 advantage.
"Notre Dame's a good team. You can't make mistakes against them," Hanna said. "We stuck to our game plan for the entirety of the game, which was to have high energy, work our hardest and play the ball through the midfield. We gave them a good fight."
Mullin iced the game in the final 10-minute period, taking a pass from Lacey Mahoney on a breakaway and scoring for the final tally.
"With us winning it last year, everybody's out to get us," Barker said. "Nobody believes in us because we have a bad record, so we still feel like we have a lot to prove."