By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
Last season’s 5-3 loss to Letcher Central in the finals of the 16th Region Tournament’s championship game left a bitter taste in the mouths of the South Laurel Lady Cardinals.
And now they get a chance at redemption today when they host the Lady Cougars at 7 p.m. during the first round of the Sweet Sixteen.
Just how bad was last season’s loss to the Lady Cougars?
South Laurel (14-6-1) jumped out to a 3-0 lead during the game’s first 12 minutes before seeing Letcher Central reel off five straight goals to end the lady Cardinals’ six-year run of winning the regional championship.
South Laurel coach Todd White said his team is more than ready to play again against the Lady Cougars (12-3-1).
“Right after we beat Corbin in the regional title game last week, one of my seniors said, walking off the field, ‘We know who we play, it’s time for revenge ladies.’
“We know what’s at stake,” he added. “They ended our season last year and they are on our home turf this time. We have a lot to play for. They still have a good team even though they lost their coach and lost some good players.”
Letcher Central will enter the game with three losses — a 3-2 decision to Prestonsburg, a 7-1 loss to Corbin and a 5-3 defeat to Perry Central.
The only team the Lady Cardinals have played that the Lady Cougars have lost to is Corbin and South Laurel beat the Lady Redhounds three times this season by a combined score of 14-1.
“We have played well this season,” White said. “We know they’re going to be ready to play, but I feel like we will be, too.”
White said if his team does manage to jump out on Letcher Central like last season, he doesn’t foresee the same thing happening to his Lady Cardinals this time around.
“I believe we’ve learned from that,” he admitted. “The first 12 minutes we dominated the game and we were scoring with ease and actually led 3-0. I actually thought maybe it was going to be a mercy rule, but Letcher Central fought hard and came back and you have to give them credit.
“I know they’re going to be ready to compete against us,” White added. “But I’ve got three seniors along with their teammates that really want to win this game and beat Letcher Central. We have had a lot of fun this season — we’ve had a tremendous season and I really believe this will be a good match-up for us.”
White said he also wants to see his team make a bit of history today, too.
“If we win, we’ll be the first girls soccer team from Laurel County to make it to the Elite Eight and to be able to crack the Elite Eight is a big goal of ours. This is a very focused group of girls and we’ll be ready,” he said. “I’m tickled to death with how things have went so far for us and I hope it continues and we’ll see what happens.”
By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
- Local Sports
The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are partying like it's 1987! That was the last time the Jackets won a game in the 13th Region Tournament, and they ended the 27-year drought with a 47-44 win over the heavily-favored Knox Central Panthers on Thursday night.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'Em
When it comes to picking region tournament games, it’s not an easy task to say the least. This is the most parity that I’ve ever seen in the 13th Region Boys and Girls Tournaments.
If Clay County’s play during the first game of the 13th Region Tournament is any indication of things to come, Robert Marcum’s squad could be well on its way of capturing their second straight 13th Region championship.
The Way it is
Since I’m picking Corbin to pull off the upset against Jackson County today, I figured I’d give my top five upsets dating back to 2005-06 when the 13th realigned and welcomed both North and South Laurel high schools to the mix.
Tony Pietrowski’s Corbin Redhounds have been favored during the past two first round 13th Region match-ups, and have been upset both times. Corbin is hoping things might change a bit this time around.
Barbourville will have hands full against Bell County today
Dinky Phipps’ Barbourville Tigers are looking for their first 13th Region Tournament win dating back to 2006’s tournament when they defeated Clay County in the regional semifinals.
Like It or Not
There’s an elephant in the room at this year’s 13th Region Tournament, and really in basketball in general, and I guess I’ll be the first one to point it out (publicly with my name attached to it).
Chris' Daily Region Pick'Em
With the first three days of opening round games in the books, I can honestly say I'm not surprised that I'm 4-2 overall when it comes to my pick'ems record.
You can never count out the Clay County Lady Tigers when it comes to the 13th Region Tournament.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'em
After going just .500 during the girls games, things are going to get even tougher when it comes to picking the 13th Region Boys Tournament games.
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