District titles in hand, it’s on to the regionals for Marshall County’s soccer teams.
The Lady Marshals have a chance to return to a familiar spot for the programs at the top of the Region 1 hierarchy.
For the Marshals, it’s a bid for a second straight region title.
The boys tournament is already in progress. Marshall County met District 1 runner-up McCracken County in the opening game of the Region 1 soccer tournament at Keiler Field, on the former Jetton Junior High School campus, in Paducah.
The winners play Wednesday at 6 p.m, for the region championship.
For the Lady Marshals, the district title had even sweeter significance. They get to host the Region 1 event, which gets under way today at Colburn Stadium.
“I’m most happy because we get to host [this] week,” coach Michael Boone said after clinching the district crown.
“You won’t see this opportunity again for the next 10, 12 years because of the way the tournaments will rotate.”
The Lady Marshals take on St. Mary at 5:30 p.m. and District 1 champ McCracken County plays Graves County at 7:30.
Boone recalled that Graves County coach Mickey McCuiston was on the other bench when the Lady Marshals’ dry spell began.
“The last time we were at this spot was 2010, and we get to the regional final and Mickey’s Murray team ends up beating us for our first loss in 15 years in the regional finals.”
This year’s seniors were freshmen then, he said.
Memories are much more fresh for Andy Pagel’s Marshals, who beat Heath last year to advance to the state tournament.
This year, the goal will be to get past that first round. Last year’s season ended, on the Marshals’ home field, at the hands of Henderson County, 2-0.
Coincidentally, this year’s Marshals squad lost their regular-season finale at Henderson County on Oct. 8, by a 2-0 score.
After a solid effort in the district championship match, Pagel believes his team is capable of a deeper run in this year’s post-season.
“We’ve played crisp games through the midfield like [the district title win over Graves County],” he said, “but didn’t finish a couple of times. I think against Henderson we were capable of doing this.”