There is a cloud hanging over the collective heads of the Perryville boys soccer team. From 2011-2015, the Pirates went 7-2 against district rival Notre Dame. But since that time, the Bulldogs have gotten the better of Perryville, beating the Pirates the last six times.
The Pirates can add another loss to that ever-mounting column. Notre Dame got a goal in each half, and held off a furious Pirate rally in the end, beating Perryville 2-1 on Saturday. The loss snapped a six game winning streak for the Pirates.
“This team has never beaten Notre Dame in four years, so the seniors and this team don’t know what it feels like to beat them,” Perryville boys soccer coach Jerry Fulton said. “Once we do get that win, it’s going to be over, but right now I think it’s a little more mental than physical.”
Fulton felt like his team didn’t bring its best energy in the first half, compiling just a single shot by Trevor Schnurbusch 32 minutes into the game. While Perryville (13-3) stymied the Notre Dame offense and kept most of the game played in the middle of the field, the Bulldogs finally struck in the 36th minute. Tyler Landawee, hit the cross bar and the ball went straight down and crossed the goal line from 30 yards out, giving Notre Dame the 1-0 advantage into halftime.
“If I thought that we played our best game and lost, then I would know we had no chance in districts later in the season and I’d really be upset,” Fulton said. “But we didn’t, so that gives me hope, but we have to get over that mental hurdle.”
Fulton saw more of the team he has become accustomed to this season in the second half and Perryville looked like it had gained all the momentum when Jake Unterreiner found some room in the corner and drove a cross through the box that was tapped in by Dayton Strattman, tying the game 1-1 just two minutes into the second half.
“That’s more like us,” Fulton said.
But the Bulldogs found paydirt once more just eight minutes later as Andrew Mueller sent a long cross into the box that was headed home for the 2-1 Notre Dame lead. The Pirates had several chances to tie it up again, but every shot seemed to be right at the Notre Dame goalkeeper. Schnurbusch had another shot in the 70th minute during a nice combination play when Strattman pushed a pass to him in the ring wing. Stanley Volansky had a shot to tie it up with four minutes remaining as his shot was saved as well.
“This game didn’t send anyone home for the year,” Fulton said. “The next one will and hopefully that’s the one we win.”