When the Jackson boys soccer team battles Solon tonight at 7 in a Division I regional semifinal game at Ravenna High School, it will be the seventh consecutive regional appearance for Jackson.
This is familiar territory for the Jackson boys soccer team.
When the Polar Bears battle Solon tonight at 7 in a Division I regional semifinal game at Ravenna High School, it will be the seventh consecutive regional appearance for Jackson.
The Polar Bears aren't merely content with reaching this point again, though. They remain hungry for victory and eager to erase a bad memory from 2012.
"We've been here," Jackson head coach Michael Biros said. "We had a young team last year, but these players now have an understanding of the situation. They know what to expect. They remember leaving this game with a bad feeling after being knocked out last year and they are eager to make amends for that."
The Polar Bears fell to Aurora 5-2 in the regional semifinals nearly a year ago to the day. They will be looking for a different result against Solon, which is coming off a 4-0 win over the Greenmen in the district finals.
"We see each other in a scaled down event every summer," Biros said of the matchup. "We have a little bit of familiarity with them. They tend to play most of their games on (Cleveland's) upper east side so we don't see very much of them in this area throughout the season."
The Polar Bears learned from the summer game that facing Solon is a big challenge.
"We know they have a lot of size," Biros said. "We are going to have to find a way to match up with their height, especially at midfield. They also have some very dangerous set pieces. We are going to have to do a good job of being mentally tough and getting to the balls that are up for grabs first."
Jackson is no easy matchup itself. The Polar Bears have several individuals playing well heading into the game.
"Grant Slovan has been our anchor defensively all season," Biros said. "Our goalkeeper, Mike Metzger, has been consistent all season. Micah Johnson has come off the bench and really helped us with some injuries up front. He had a huge goal that made it 2-0 in our (4-1) win over GlenOak (in the district finals).
"We also lean heavily on our seniors up front in Patrick Zonfa and Carter Billett."
Solon also can expect to see a healthy Jackson team, even though it is only days after a physical matchup with GlenOak.
"We are doing pretty good healthwise," Biros said. "We have some nicks and bumps but for a big rivalry game against GlenOak, we did OK getting out of it."
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