After a 6-1 start, the Institute of Notre Dame's girls soccer team appears headed for a turnaround season. The No. 10 Indians will find out this week just how good they are.
The Indians play host to No. 2 St. Mary's this afternoon and No. 4 McDonogh on Thursday at Herring Run Park.
"These girls know they have a challenge ahead," said Indians coach Dave Schaeffer. "They're looking forward to seeing exactly how far they've come and how far they have to go. They know the measuring stick is St. Mary's, McDonogh and [No. 5] John Carroll."
Last season, the Indians finished 9-8-3 overall and 5-4-3 in the tough Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference.
Already this season, the Indians have beaten three ranked teams. Last week, they upset No. 9 South River, 2-1, and edged No. 13 Maryvale, 4-3, before falling to C. Milton Wright, 2-1, on Friday.
Lauren Cunningham (15 goals, five assists) scored both goals against South River, and keeper Laura Houck made 12 saves.
However, Indians back Jen Leo, playing with bone chips in her left ankle, sprained her right one in the first five minutes of the game. She should return today.
Without Leo and Cunningham, who was on a college visit, the Indians couldn't get past C. Milton Wright. But they should have their full complement this week.
Schaeffer has already seen a change in his team's outlook after their early success.
"Their mind-set started turning last year," the coach said. "Before, they were going into a game thinking, 'How bad are we going to lose?' This year, they believe they can win, and they want to go forward."