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May 14, 2014

Hazel Park High girls soccer looking forward to district challenges

By Christian Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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Hazel Park High girls soccer looking forward to district challenges
Hazel Park High sophomore Brooke Buckner dribbles upfield in a game earlier this season. The Vikings have made it their No. 1 goal to win a district championship.

HAZEL PARK — The Hazel Park High girls soccer team was battling St. Clair Shores South Lake earlier this season when it finally sunk in for Tabitha Laframboise.

The Hazel Park senior realized that, with each minute, each game, the countdown continues until the end of her high school career.

“We were winning, and I was just thinking, ‘This moment, I wish it would never end,’” Laframboise remembered. “Last week was the first time it sunk in … this is (it), so it’ll be sad.”

Though before she, and the rest of the 12 seniors on the team, plays her last game for the Vikings, the group hopes to go out with a district championship — something that has eluded them in their four years on varsity.

Coach Denis Dixon said that is the No. 1 goal for the squad, and achieving it likely means getting past rival Ferndale High, a team Hazel Park has routinely struggled with in recent years.

“If we want to win our district title, we have to step up and prove that we can run with those girls,” Dixon said.

The rest of the Division 2 district includes Detroit Mumford, Detroit Renaissance, Hamtramck, Redford Union and Warren Fitzgerald.

The district draw was not available at press time, but Dixon believes the district championship will go through Ferndale or Union.

Dixon added that his team has played well thus far. At press time, the Vikings were 6-4 overall and 1-3 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division.

“This year, we’ve been able to score quite a bit. I have freshmen (Kara Martin and Raena Travis) that can put the ball in the net, then you add that with the seniors, half of which have been playing since they were freshmen, then we have a little bit of scoring power,” he said.

Dixon added that the defense has also been strong, but the squad needs to improve on communication and bouncing back when things don’t go its way early on.

“We’ve learned how to win this year, but we have to figure out that when times get tough, you have to get tougher,” he said. “The teenage mind is a powerful thing. You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.”

All Laframboise and her teammates want is that elusive district title, which the Vikings came close to last season, losing in the final.

The tournament starts May 27 on the Vikings’ home field, and Laframboise readily acknowledges the countdown has begun.

“It’s a lot of pressure, but we can handle it,” she said.

Catch Hazel Park in its regular-season finale against Detroit Renaissance at 5:30 p.m. May 20 on the road.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Christian Davis at cdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1062. Twitter Follow Christian on Twitter.