Last week the Corbin Redhounds and Lady Hounds soccer teams were disappointed after falling to South and North Laurel respectively in the championship games of this year’s 49th District tournaments. The mood is a much different one now, however, as both teams were able to win 13th Region titles Thursday night in a pair of rematches from the 2017 district finals.
Both contests were held at Corbin Primary School Thursday, with the Lady Hounds versus the Lady Jaguars up first. Corbin was without star senior Abby Baker in the recent district tournament, but she was back for region, and she made all the difference in the championship game. She first scored on a penalty kick with 2:24 left in the first half after a handball call went against North Laurel from inside the penalty box. She would score again with 14:48 left in the game and the score tied at 1-1, giving her team the 2-1 victory and sending them on to compete in this year’s KHSAA state championship tournament.
“This is like a dream,” Baker said after the win. “North Laurel is a great team, a great opponent, but we really came together tonight. I told the other girls before the game that, win or lose, as long as we go out and play our very best, that’s all I care about. We were able to play together tonight, and we won a championship. I’m just really proud.”
Lady Hounds Head Coach Hannah Goins said, “This is awesome! It’s a wonderful feeling. I’m really proud of my girls. I knew coming in that it was going to be a really tough game, but I’m just proud of the way that we came out, played with intensity, effort and just did a great job. If we keep this kind of play up I know that good things are going to continue to happen for us.”
The now three-time defending 13th Region champion Corbin Lady Hounds will come into next week’s KHSAA state tournament with an overall season record of 9-11-2. They are scheduled to face 15th Region champions Prestonsburg on the road next Tuesday, October 24.
After the girls’ game Thursday, the Corbin boys were up against the South Laurel Cardinals.
With only 16 minutes and change left in this championship game the score still stood at 0-0. It was then that junior Trey Cima sent a beautiful free kick in toward senior Chris Lebanion, who was able to head the ball into the goal to finally give his team the advantage. As it turns out, that would be all the Hounds needed, as they would go on to win this year’s 13th Region crown by the final score of 1-0.
After the game, Corbin Head Coach Armando Cima said, “The biggest disappointment over the last couple of years has been not being in the region finals. I’ve always told the team that, in this area, we should always be in the finals. Whichever side of it that we come out on, we should always at least be in the finals, because that’s the type of quality program that we are.”
“I told the boys before we went out on the field tonight that they’ve done what I asked of them,” Cima continued. “We’re in the finals, but I also said that I don’t think they should be satisfied with that.”
Now, as the newly crowned champions of the region, the Redhounds (12-5) have shown that they are most certainly not content to simply be in the tournament finals. As the winners, they have extended their season for at least another few days, with a road trip to play against Region 15 champs Pikeville on the horizon. That first round contest in this year’s state championship tournament is scheduled for Monday, October 23.
When asked after Thursday’s game what this team needs to do in order to achieve their goals at the next level, senior Hound Chris Lebanion said, “This is where we belong. We deserve to be at state after all of our hard work. All we have to do now is come out and play like we did tonight. Tonight we came out, and we were winning every 50/50 ball. We were always challenging, always working. That’s what it’s going to to take at state. I think we’re going to come out on top, though, because we’ll want it more.”
Look to next Wednesday’s edition of the News Journal for more updates on Corbin’s involvement in both the boys’ and girls’ 2017 KHSAA state championship soccer tournaments.