By John Lachmann
UNION, Ky. – Notre Dame showed on Saturday that it can generate ample offense without goals from any of its top three scorers.
Senior Katherine Koplyay scored twice and senior Jamie Bramlage added the clinching goal as the Pandas beat Newport Central Catholic, 3-1 in the Region 9 final on Saturday.
Seniors Ellie Eckerle (17 goals) and Katy Zembrodt (10 goals), and sophomore Mandy Arnzen (11 goals) have all recorded double-digit goal totals this season for Notre Dame.
Koplyay and Bramlage had just eight markers combined entering the match.
“That’s what we hope happens in the postseason – everyone wants to step up, so it’s nice to see the people that have been working hard all year are finally hitting the back of net,” McSorley said.
Koplyay persisted in attacking the net early in the first half, and when the Thoroughbreds were unable to clear the ball out of their box, Koplyay tapped in a loose ball 10:49 into the first half.
Koplyay blasted home her second goal of the match and seventh of the season off a failed clearing attempt with 9:55 remaining in regulation.
The Thoroughbreds cut the lead to one when junior Sam Bunzel blocked a ball that the Pandas were trying to clear out, and the ball ended up in the Notre Dame net with 6:10 left.
But Bramlage headed in a corner kick from junior Maddie Tierney for her fourth tally of the year to seal it with 4:53 remaining in the second half.
Pandas senior goalkeeper Olivia Voskuhl fought off NewCath’s only other scoring chance, leaping to bat away a high outside shot right after Koplyay’s first goal.
Notre Dame will face Region 10 champion Brossart at 7 p.m. on Monday in the first round of the state tournament. The Pandas are the host, but because Notre Dame does not have lights at its home field the teams will have to play the match at another site TBA.
The defending state champions enter the field of 16 having won 14 straight matches and gone unbeaten in their last 16 (15-0-1), and they beat the Mustangs, 2-0 when the teams met in the regular season.
“I feel like we can get in there and show people that we can win state again,” Koplyay said.
HALFTIME: Notre Dame, 1-0. GOALS: ND—Koplyay 2, Bramlage. NCC—Bunzel. RECORDS: Notre Dame 22-2-1, NewCath 14-6-1.
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