MOREHEAD – There are two rematches in the first round of the 16th Region girls soccer tournament, two first-time face-offs to begin the boys event, a path to a familiar high-stakes boys showdown and two likely favorites on opposite sides of the girls bracket.
The 16th Region boys and girls soccer draw yielded that on Friday. Both tournaments are next week at Rowan County. Five doubleheaders will light up Paul Ousley Stadium, from the boys opening round on Monday until championship night for boys and girls both on Saturday night. East Carter and Fleming County's boys kick things off on Monday at 6 p.m., followed by West Carter and Ashland. The Raiders (14-3-1) and Panthers (10-7-1) haven't met this season. Nor have the Comets (5-12) and Tomcats (5-14).
Defending region champion Boyd County (113-2) awaits the East Carter-Fleming County winner in Wednesday's semifinal. If it's the Raiders, it will be the fourth straight season they've met the Lions in the region tournament. That includes last year’s championship match, won by Boyd County, 1-0.
Rowan County (12-6-2) will meet the Comets-Tomcats victor in the other boys semifinal.
In girls action, West Carter and Boyd County begin the tournament Tuesday at 6. The Lady Lions (6-9-1) knocked off the Lady Comets (9-91) 3-0 on Sept. 17 in Olive Hill.
East Carter-Fleming County follows that one. The Lady Raiders (10-6-2) and Lady Panthers (11-7-3) drew 4-4 on Aug. 13 in Flemingsburg.
Rowan County (17-2-2) gets the West Carter-Boyd County winner on Thursday at 6, followed by Ashland (16-0-2) versus the East Carter-Fleming County winner. The Lady Cats are one of two undefeated teams left in the state who competed in postseason play. Christian Academy of Louisville (15-0-2) is the other.
The boys final is Saturday at 6, followed by the girls title match.