The Corbin Lady Hounds soccer team was disappointed after a 5-0 loss to North Laurel in the finals of the 2017 49th District tournament this past Friday evening, but now they’re shifting their focus to next week’s 13th Region championship tournament at Corbin Primary School.
The Lady Hounds will be coming into the tournament as the two-time defending region champions, and they will hope to put together a three-peat performance that will lead to an appearance in the 2017 KHSAA state championship tournament later this month.
“We’re just going to try to shake this one off, and come back stronger and harder for the next game,” Corbin Head Coach Hannah Goins said after Friday’s game against North Laurel. “We have region coming up, and that’s what we have to start focusing on now. We have seven seniors this year. They’ve been very strong for us, so we’ll be looking to them to provide that leadership going into the tournament.”
As for those seven seniors – Abby Baker, Nikki Wells, Olivia Jones, Tristan Gibbs, Savannah Finley, Carley Stone and Taylor Boian – they each took a few moments recently to share their thoughts about how they’re feeling coming into this year’s region tourney.
“I feel really confident,” said Baker, the Lady Hounds’ all-time leading scorer who will be returning to the playing field next week after having to miss the district tournament due to injury. “Our team has grown together, and I feel like we’ve really improved over this season. I’m really proud of all the girls on and off the field, and I’m just very excited to see what we can do at region.”
Finley said, “I feel pretty confident. I know we’ve had some ups-and-downs, but we’re going to be fine. I have a lot of faith in this team.”
When asked about what this group needs to do in order to get back to the top of the region, Wells said, “I feel like we need to just work on talking to each other, and playing as a team. If we can play as a team, then I think we’ll be good.”
Gibbs was also feeling optimistic, saying, “I feel confident going into region, because during the season we’ve learned what we really need to be practicing and working on. It feels amazing that I get to play on my home field again.”
Boian said, “I’ve been with these girls for years now, and it feels great to be in our senior year finishing things out together.”
Stone said of being the two-time defending champs, “Going in, it’s kind of hard to have that expectation to live up to. It can be stressful, but at the same time it also gives you motivation. It gives you something to work for. We just have to have the heart and the gumption to do it. We’ve worked really hard this year, and I think we’re going to be able to do something again together.”
Finally, Jones, whose goalkeeping ability saved the team’s season in their district semifinal matchup against South Laurel, said, “I think that we’re going to do very well. I think we are one of the best teams in the region, and possibly the state. I have really enjoyed playing for Corbin. It’s going to be weird playing in our last few games together, but my hope is that we can do well and show everyone that we’re just as good as we were last year.”
Corbin will come into the region tournament with an overall record of seven wins, eleven losses and two ties. They will play against the 50th District champion Knox Central Lady Panthers in round one this Monday, October 16 at 8:00 p.m.
Should they win their first round game, the Hounds will then face the winners of North Laurel versus Harlan County Thursday, October 19 at 6:00 p.m. All games will take place at the Corbin Primary School soccer complex.
Look in Wednesday’s print edition of the News Journal for more coverage of the 2017 girls’ and boys’ 13th Region championship tournaments.
Photos courtesy of KEVIN NORVELL