Hazel Park High soccer season comes to close, but not before capturing first district title
HAZEL PARK — The run came to an end in a Division 2 regional semifinal June 3 against Livonia Ladywood, but since day one, winning a district championship has been the goal for Hazel Park High soccer.
Coach Denis Dixon knew in order to accomplish the feat, his squad would be tested and taken to the brink.
“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 in early May. “The teenage mind is a powerful thing. You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.”
Dixon’s words seemed prophetic May 31, as his team charged to midfield after winning the program’s first-ever district tile. The Vikings beat Hamtramck High 5-3 on their home field for the championship, but not before being tested, as Dixon predicted.
The Vikings trailed 2-0 in the first half.
“That shows resilience,” Dixon said. “You’re down and you have to come back; that’s better than just being up. You have to dig deep.”
Hazel Park junior Chloe Lavender put her team on the board with a goal midway through the first and then freshman Raena Travis took over, scoring three straight and ultimately giving the Vikings control in the second half. Senior Veronica Warren also added a score with 10:34 left to put Hamtramck away.
Making the run even sweeter for Hazel Park, which finished 13-7 overall, was its victory in the semifinal, beating rival Ferndale High 2-1 in double overtime.
The Eagles had been a thorn in Hazel Park’s side in recent years. The Vikings hadn’t beaten them in Dixon’s memory including a 3-0 defeat earlier this season.
“The team as a whole, we knew our goal was to get a district title, but we knew we had to beat Ferndale to get it,” said Tabitha Laframboise, one of 15 seniors on the team and 10 who were four-year varsity members. “We knew it was our time. … We won our senior year — we’re going out with a bang.”