Girls soccer: Providence Catholic sees magical season come to end with supersectional loss to PND

This was the first winning season for Providence Catholic since 2018

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The Providence Catholic girls soccer team didn’t win the Class 2A Kankakee Supersectional on Tuesday night. They lost to Peoria Notre Dame 4-0 and were outshot 25-4 to end their season.

Looking at the Celtics’ sideline, however, you couldn’t find a hanging head or a single tear. Only smiles, good spirits and hope.

Confused about how they could feel so positive after such a lopsided defeat? Consider everything that came before it.

From 2019 to 2023, Providence Catholic combined to win just 17 games [no season was held in 2020 due to COVID-19]. This year’s team finishes 17-10-1, equaling that total in just a year while giving the Celtics their first winning season since 2018. According to coach Michael Taylor, this was the first time the Celtic girls won a sectional game in 22 years.

All that considered, a supersectional loss to a traditional powerhouse isn’t too bad.

“You tip your hat to a good team when you lose,” Taylor said. “Our goal all season was to play well and as we got to the playoffs we sort of followed the game plan. I’ve got a history with PND from my time at St. Viator, and they’ve always got a good team hanging around.”

Taylor pointed out that the four seniors on this year’s squad never had experienced a winning season in high school prior to this year. Yet they stuck with the team for the love of the game. Rachel Faut, Natalie Demoor, Abby Martin and Maura Hurley earned a shoutout from their first-year coach, who noted the future is about to be even brighter.

“To my four seniors I say, you’ve laid the groundwork,” Taylor said. “I look at them and tell them I love them. I love what you did and that persevered. They stuck with it for the love of the game.”

Martin was grateful and appreciative for her time with the Celtics while expressing awe at what the team was able to do this season.

“I was shocked, honestly,” she said. “I didn’t expect the season to end this way. Even though we didn’t get to state or anything I think it means a lot [to make it this far]. You can only go up from here.”

Martin credited Demoor for her leadership after the fellow senior scored 11 goals with five assists this season. Martin is hopeful that the example they’ve set can provide inspiration for the 2025 Celtics and beyond.

“I’m really proud to be a part of [this culture],” Martin said. “The other three girls are really strong. Natalie is a really good leader. She has so many strong leadership qualities, and a lot of girls look up to her. That’s a really good base point for a lot of the juniors to look up to and follow. I’m really confident they’ll have another good season next year.”

Taylor also singled out goalkeeper Claire Wajda for the toughness she showed all season.

“I can’t say enough good things about our goalie,” he said. “She played half a season in goal last year for JV and got hurt. She’s not a goalie, but she comes out here and does a fantastic job all season. She made saves I didn’t even think she should ever make.”

While the leadership will be tough to replace, Providence will return some talent. Sophomore Maggie Wolniakowski, who scored 22 goals with 11 assists, freshman Giuliana Savarino, who had 11, and sophomore Alyssa Thulin, who had 12 and 21.

“I’ve got 26 freshmen coming in next year,” Taylor said. “I’ve got some very good players coming in. We’re going to change what we’re doing, and I’m proud of these girls. This is a building block. We’ve put a carrot on a stick for the boys and challenged them to come catch us now. We can only get better and better from here.”