Hazel Park High soccer staying on course

By: Christian Davis | Madison - Park News | Published May 6, 2016

 Hazel Park High’s Kara Martin was an honorable-mention All-State selection last season. At press time, she led the team with six goals and 12 assists.

Hazel Park High’s Kara Martin was an honorable-mention All-State selection last season. At press time, she led the team with six goals and 12 assists.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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Nearing the midpoint of the season, Hazel Park High girls soccer coach Denis Dixon feels his team is about where he thought it would be.

At press time, the Vikings were 6-3 overall and 1-3 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division, which Dixon feels is an underrated division.

“We have three or four teams at the bottom, but you got up at the top two or three teams that could go to the (OAA White) and hang with any one of them,” Dixon said, noting division leaders West Bloomfield High, Birmingham Seaholm and Birmingham Groves.

As for his squad, he puts it just a step behind the big three, largely because of the play of junior Kara Martin.

She has six goals and 12 assists this season. Last season, she was honorable mention All-State.

“She’s our whole team. She’s an awesome soccer player that would start at any school,” Dixon said.

Martin is left-footed, but can strike from either side.

“A lefty soccer player is like a lefty pitcher in baseball. That’s difficult to find,” Dixon said. “Her speed and footwork are just amazing. She spins girls around, and they fall down. She goes right by them.”

Dixon also pointed to the contributions from freshman Ashley Carlson. She’s started every game and has tallied a goal and four assists.

“She’s my next Kara Martin. The best part about it is that I pair her up with Kara in practice, and with her going against someone of that caliber, she’s going to step up to that level at some point,” Dixon said.

Junior goalie Katelyn Meachum has kept opponents at bay, only allowing two goals or more in two contests.

“We’re not (where we are) without her, that’s for sure,” Dixon said. “She doesn’t just stand on the line at all; if there’s a breakaway, she’s coming out.”

Following the race for the Blue Division, the Vikings head to the Division 2 state playoffs. District draws were not available at press time, but Dixon said Bloomfield Hills Marian and Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day are in their draw.

This season, Country Day moved to D-2 from D-3, where it finished state runner-up the past two years. Marian has finished state runner-up two of the last three years and won the title in 2012.

“The odds are extremely good one of those two teams are your state champions,” Dixon said. “We have to go against them, so my hope is that they draw each other and we at least play one of them in the (district) final.”

No matter when the season comes to a close, the Vikings have a straightforward goal in mind.

“Our goal every year is to be better than we were the year before. Whether that’s one win, one goal or just feeling that we played better competition, that’s how you build a program,” Dixon said. “You’re just taking steps.”

Catch the Vikings against Southfield Christian at 4 p.m. May 12 on the road.

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