Kari Eckenwiler

Madison's Kari Eckenwiler chases down a loose ball during a district final win over Ontario at Lexington High School.

MADISON TOWNSHIP — Winning district and regional championships are nice, but Madison’s goal is the gold trophy.

The Rams will take the next step in their quest for a state championship at noon Saturday at St. Marys Memorial in the Division II regional finals. A win would send Madison to the state tournament for the third time in the past four years.

Madison was state runner-up last fall. With almost everyone returning from that team, including All-American Taylor Huff, and the addition of some talented freshman, the Rams had some unfinished business to tend to in 2020.

“Every senior has that mindset and I’m so glad that we’re all sticking together with this and we’re all playing our hardest,” senior Chesney Davis said after scoring two goals in a 4-0 win over Toledo Central Catholic in the regional semifinals. “Sometimes that’s what you have to do, especially if we want to get to the state championship.”

Next up for the Rams (18-0-3) is a meeting with a St. Marys Memorial team that finished ninth in the final Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association state poll (Madison was No. 1). The Rough Riders beat Mentor Lake Catholic 3-2 in overtime to advance to the regional final.

St. Marys trailed Lake Catholic 2-1 with less than two minutes remaining in regulation, but Lil Ankerman scored the equalizer on a breakaway then knocked in the game-winner with 3:05 remaining in overtime.

“It is the heart of a champion,” Rider head coach Nick Wilson told the Lima News after the match. “When they put their minds to it, they can play with anybody.”

Madison didn’t have any trouble with Toledo Central Catholic on Tuesday. Huff matched Davis with two goals as the Rams made it look easy.

“A loss and we’re out,” said Davis, one of 10 Madison seniors. “We have to play every game like it’s our last game.”

While the Rams are all business, there’s still time for some fun and games.

“I think of my team as my family,” Davis said. “We all have fun together. We’re always laughing with each other.

“I love playing with these girls. I love them all.”

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I have covered high school sports in Richland County since 2000. Email him at curt@richlandsource.com or follow him on Twitter: Follow @curtjconrad on twitter.

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