TRAVERSE CITY — No one can accuse Traverse City Christian of setting the bar too low on its postseason goals.
They may be lofty aspirations, but the Sabres have set their sights on winning a state soccer championship.
The first step came on Monday when Christian opened the Division III district tournament with an 8-0 win over Kingsley at the Keystone Soccer Complex.
“We’re making a run, I can tell you that,” said junior Wesley Nelson.
And how far do the Sabres hope that run goes?
“All the way,” he said. “What else?”
Nelson and senior Jacob Rorick each scored four goals in a contest that was called with 16 minutes remaining. The Sabres (12-8) scored twice in the first nine minutes — both goals by Rorick — then added two more goals near the middle of the first half — both by Nelson — to build a 4-0 halftime lead.
“The team played well,” said Christian coach Ron Christie. “The Stags were a first-year program and they had a lot of good players out there so it was fun playing them tonight.”
Christian held a 13-2 advantage in shots on goal as Kingsley keeper Caleb Wetherholt had a much busier afternoon than Christian’s David Bump and Brenden Ehlect, who shared the shutout.
Thomas added two assists for a six-point game, while Cam Beemer and Tim Brick each chipped in two assists with Hudson Argyle also assisting.
“It’s funny, I normally play defense so I bet Jake was kind of mad that I came up and started stealing all his goals,” Nelson said, jokingly.
Like the first half, Rorick netted the first two goals of the second half, coming in the 44th and 49th minutes. Nelson added a score two minutes later and enacted the mercy in the 64th minute of the game.
“It means a lot to me, being a senior and getting off with a victory,” said Rorick. “Don’t want to lose and turn in my jersey.”
Though Kingsley came in as decided underdogs, Nelson said the Sabres didn’t take the Stags lightly. Still, Rorick said Christian can play better than it did.
“I think we can do a lot better and hopefully in the next game we’ll improve a lot more and come out with a ‘W’.”
The Sabres’ next game is Wednesday when they face Cheboygan in a district semifinal contest at Elk Rapids.