DE PERE (WLUK) -- De Pere girls soccer coach Andy Steger was watching his team at practice earlier this week and he was talking about his team's 4-0 win over Notre Dame the previous week.
He was impressed with his team's performance and that led him to thinking his team is peaking at the right time as the postseason approaches.
At 15-2-1, De Pere has had a real good season, but something stood out to Steger.
"We struggled around the middle part of the season but now we've started turn around the corner and move forward with some things," he said. "We knew there was going to be some tough competition and some dogfights. They've gotten better throughout the season and hopefully we're moving in the right direction now."
That direction includes clinching its second straight Fox River Classic Conference title. De Pere took a step in that direction with a key 2-0 win over Bay Port on Thursday.
De Pere has clinched at least a tie with one match remaining.
"To our team it's definitely a big goal for us," senior Alli Wettstein said of winning the conference title. "We've been working all season for this. To win our conference would really give us a confidence boost for the playoffs."
Speaking of the playoffs, last year De Pere won the sectional title and was excited to go to the Division 1 state tournament. However, the Redbirds lost in a state semifinal and that feeling has not been forgotten.
"That was pretty heartbreaking for us," Wettstein said. "I think all of us wanted to win state. As a team going to state and not winning is not an option for us, we're there to win. We want to show up, we want to win, we want the gold ball."
"I want more," junior Amelia Schuh said. "I would love a state championship. I'd love a ring. We want more. We would love to see what we can really do as a team."
After going through last year's playoff grind, De Pere knows what to expect.
"I think it helps because now the kids have been there," Steger said. "They understand some of the intensity, some of the pressures that are there and what is expected of them. I think that becomes the biggest thing. We have to believe in ourselves that we can do this, believe in each other and when it comes time we have to perform."
Seems like the plan is in place for the Redbirds.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay