By Mike Moore
Jackson – There’s no complacency here, no taking what’s been established for granted.
District success has become a staple of the Lumen Chisti boys soccer program, a tradition seemingly carried from one fall to the next.
When the Titans defeated Quincy High 5-0 on Saturday at Onsted, it marked the fourth consecutive district crown, and 12th in the past 14 years, to be exact.
But there wasn’t a huge celebration, no parade plans being constructed.
“Truthfully, I think the bigger goals are still out there,” coach Damon Havlicek said Monday morning. “When the district game ended, the guys were already talking about what was next. That’s what they are focused on.”
Lumen rolled through the Onsted bracket, opening the postseason with an 8-0 victory against Columbia Central followed by a 2-0 shutout of Hillsdale in the semifinal.
In the district title, five different players — Gabriel Tavera, Ethan Frew, Abraham Johnson, Patrick Nicol and Caleb Chesney— scored while goalie Max Snyder picked up his 12th shutout of the season.
Dominant, but still driven.
“This senior class has won four districts, but they’ve never taken that next step,” Havlicek said of the regional round. “This is their chance to do that.”
Lumen, now 16-3-1, will have its hands full Tuesday evening when it travels to Beverly Hills to take on a Country Day (13-6-3) team known for postseason success.
The Yellowjackets picked up their district trophy after disposing of Madison 8-0 on Friday. They beat Clawson High 4-2 in the semifinal after cruising past Detroit University Prep 9-0 in an opener.
Country Day’s playoff accomplishments are hard to ignore, with five Division 3 state title since 2004, the most recent in 2011.
None of that will intimidate a Titans team that may be as strong as it has been in years.
“We can’t wait for the challenge,” Havlicek said. “We’re going to go there, play free, play loose, and we’re not going to hold back.”
The teams met once this year, a 2-1 Lumen victory back in August.
“So much is different now, though,” Havlicek quickly cautioned. “That game was on grass, very early in the season when they were without one of their best players. They are a much different team now.”
If there’s one easy to spot advantage, it’s home field.
Country Day is hosting the regional round and won’t have to adjust its schedule at all before the 5 p.m. start.
Lumen, on the other hand, will have the hour-or-so drive east on I-94, and will also be playing on a turf field for the first time this fall.
“Our defense is going to have to respond to any challenges they throw at us,” Havlicek said. “We have to be very disciplined. We can’t let them just go up and down the field and control the ball. … I really think this one will be decided in the midfield.”
“At the same time, when you have chances against a team like Country Day, you have to take them,” Havlicek added. “If you don’t, that can wear on you. That doubt can creep into your head. If we have chances, we’re going to take them.”
Havlicek said he’ll be brining a very confident and motivated group of guys to Country Day Tuesday. This is a senior class with so much regular season and district success, but one still searching for a win in the regional round for the first time.
“And if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best,” Havlicek said. “Our whole side of the draw is strong, ranked teams. Nothing is going to be easy. But we like that challenge. We’re ready for it.”
The regional final is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 24, and the other half of the bracket includes Grosse Ile High and Allen Park Cabrini.