XENIA — Legacy Christian’s boys soccer seniors are used to winning.
Coming into Tuesday’s Division III district semifinal match, the group had accumulated 59 in their high school careers. Yet a specific one had eluded them in their three previous attempts.
It made win number 60 all the more special.
The Knights secured their spot to play in the district title match for the first time with a 2-0 victory against Botkins at home.
“At the beginning of the year, I talked to this group of seniors and I said to them the last three years you’ve made it to this point in the tournament and every time it’s been one goal short,” head coach Joe McCaskey said. “And I said it’s got to be this year, it’s got to be the year. And they came out and they wanted it and it was awesome to see.”
LCA had indeed lost by a single goal the previous three seasons in the same round of the tournament. Tuesday was finally different.
Parker Burke scored less than 10 minutes in off a flick in front of the net from a centered ball. After holding off some pressure early in the second half, Burke netted a second with 14:11 left in the match to double the lead.
New goalkeeper Nate Schmaus was tested throughout the second half as Botkins applied pressure, including hitting the post on one shot, but mostly was able to make calm saves on several other shot attempts to preserve the shut out.
“He moved from out of state and wasn’t sure about playing the beginning of the season, but he’s come in and stepped up big,” McCaskey said. “He’s played great and he’s been stellar for the last four or so matches for us, which it’s kind of crazy to go with a keeper that’s that new for you, but it’s the type of player he is that shows he’s ready for the big moment.”
The scoreboard wasn’t operating during Tuesday’s game. That may have made the final whistle all the more exhilarating for Legacy Christian to learn in the moment they had done enough to get the win they had been seeking.
A district final appearance will be a special game for this group of Knights seniors. They are set to face Mariemont on Saturday at Kings High School north of Cincinnati.
While McCaskey said he’s happy his team has achieved its goal of making it this far, they still have others including wanting to keep going as far as they can with their sights set on advancing to state.
“These teams are all excellent,” McCaskey said. “When you get to this round you will have to step your game up. I think it might be a little bit of an advantage for us as well probably going in as an underdog. We may be a 3-seed, but the South part of the district is pretty stacked. It plays into our strengths because if you look past Park, you look past [Dillon Campbell] or anyone else on our team, we’re going to take advantage of it.”
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on X (formerly Twitter) @Steven_Wright_.