Terry Quigley, the Lexington Catholic girls' soccer coach, believes that scheduling tough opponents early helps make his teams better.
Learn your shortcomings, then go to work and improve.
Monday, the second-ranked Lady Knights opened the season at home by taking on No. 1 Notre Dame.
And, wow, did they ever learn their shortcomings.
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Chandler Clark's hat trick led Notre Dame to a 6-0 thrashing of the Lady Knights.
"We have to work on everything," Quigley said. "But I was really impressed with Notre Dame. They've got good speed, good skill all over the field.
"The score, I think, indicates the level of difference at this moment between them and us. I thought they were wonderful to watch. They played hard and they played smart, and they attacked the whole game. We had our moments, but they were few and far between. But I think our girls will come back from this — it's the first game of the season."
The Pandas roared to a 3-0 lead in the first 20 minutes.
Catholic adjusted, playing scoreless the rest of the half, and for the first 16 minutes of the second half.
Catholic's Mary Beth Gorham put a shot on net 20 seconds into the match.
The Lady Knights' only threat the rest of the half came when Gorham took a corner kick that came close to hooking into the goal, only to be punched out by goalkeeper Olivia Voskuhl.
"A good outing that we had today. We were very impressive," said Patrick Tully, a Notre Dame assistant who is acting head coach while Sara Raaker-McSorley is on maternity leave. "Lexington Catholic's always a great team and we were just excited to come out and show them that we can play with the best of them."
Clark opened the scoring just over two minutes into the match. Her direct kick from the left side, just a few yards inside the corner flag, found the far side of the net.
"Knowing that we were No. 1, we came in with a big chip on our shoulder," said Clark, a senior midfielder. "We were not expecting a 6-0 match because LexCath's a great team every year. They always give us a game. We just came out and capitalized on our opportunities."
Moments after the first goal, Notre Dame's Ellie Eckerle ripped a shot off the crossbar.
Six minutes after Clark's goal, her throw-in to Eckerle produced the second goal. Eckerle passed in front, where Ellen Combs blasted a rising shot from about 8 yards out.
Lexie Nageleisen's 12-yard shot 19:30 in made it 3-0.
Sydney Scheben scored in the 56th minute.
Clark added the icing, scoring off a direct kick and heading in a corner kick served by Corrine Brown.
"This isn't the end of the world," Quigley said. "There is a tomorrow, and we'll start working on what we have to improve on."
Notre Dame 6, Lexington Catholic 0
Goals — ND: Chandler Clark 3, Ellen Combs, Lexie Nageleisen, Sydney Scheben. Goalkeepers — ND: Olivia Voskuhl, Nikki Zembrodt; LC: Kate Fitzgerald, Sara Youkilis. Records — Notre Dame 1-0; Lexington Catholic 0-1.