LEXINGTON — Don’t expect Ryan Parker and his Lexington teammates to overlook Lima Shawnee in the run-up to Saturday’s Division II regional championship match.
The Minutemen understand better than most the dangers of underestimating an opponent.
Lexington (17-3-0) will host Shawnee (16-2-1) at 3 p.m. Saturday for a regional title and a ticket to next week’s state semifinals. The Minutemen pounded Shawnee 6-2 at home early in the regular season, a scenario that raised a reg flag for Parker after a 3-0 regional semifinal win over Granville earlier this week.
“We definitely don’t want to go in overconfident because obviously we’ve seen what happened before,” Parker said. “It’s a regional championship. It’s going to be a whole different ball game playing them again.”
Parker would know.
In 2019, the Minutemen played at powerhouse Bay in the second game of the season and came home with their tails between their legs after an 8-0 loss. Lex turned the tables in the regional semifinals, stunning the Rockets 2-1 in overtime in the rain at Wooster’s Follis Field.
Three days later, Lexington knocked off Shawnee 3-2 to win the regional championship and advance to the Final Four.
Lexington also beat Shawnee 3-2 during the regular season in 2019. Before that, Shawnee won regular season meetings in 2017 and 2018.
“We have all the respect in the world for coach (Ryan) Quatman over at Shawnee,” Lexington coach Peter Them said. “We’ve had this little series going back-and-forth the last three or four years. It’s been a great game for us, not only in the regular season but the postseason as well.”
Shawnee advanced to the regional final with a 3-0 win over Toledo Central Catholic. Shawnee outshot TCC 8-3 and got goals from Carter Jensen and Brayden Ward in the first half and an insurance goal from Jake Miller early in the second.
Lex cruised into the regional championship match with a 3-0 win over Granville in a physical match that featured six yellow cards on the Blue Aces. Parker had a goal and an assist.
“I think we maintained our composure pretty well,” Parker said. “It’s a regional semi game so it’s going to be chippy. I’m glad the boys stayed composed as well as they did.”
Parker doesn’t expect anything to come easy against Shawnee on Saturday.
“We like our chances going in,” Parker said, “but it’s whoever shows up to play that day.”