Daviess County and Ohio County high schools punched their tickets to the 3rd Region Girls' Soccer Tournament championship game with a pair of semifinal victories Tuesday night at Deer Park.
The Lady Panthers captured a victory over Muhlenberg County in a matchup that was shortened by lightning in the area, while the Lady Eagles outlasted Owensboro Catholic for their first regional title game appearance in nearly a decade.
The 3rd Region Tournament championship game is set for Thursday at 6 p.m.
DAVIESS COUNTY 7, MUHLENBERG COUNTY 1
Meredith Campbell scored four goals for the Lady Panthers (19-3), who will be making their sixth consecutive trip to the regional final.
Campbell opened scoring with a goal in the first minute, followed by Bree Owen earning and then converting a penalty kick two minutes later. Chloe Hinchcliffe scored off of Owen's assist with 34:07 left in the first half, followed by three straight Campbell goals over the next eight minutes for a 6-0 DC lead.
Ashlyn Payton capped off the Lady Panthers' scoring with a follow-up goal off of a deflection in the box with 13:10 remaining until halftime.
Campbell credited her teammates' unselfishness for DC's success.
"Our passes, getting it out wide and getting it across in the middle, it all worked out pretty well," said Campbell, who was on the receiving end of assists from Kenlee Newcom, Tori Beth Baylis and Avery McNeiley.
Muhlenberg County (12-12-1) got on the board with a goal from Hannah Slaughter less than a minute before intermission, but a lightning delay -- the second of the night, after the game originally started later than expected due to an earlier delay -- effectively ended the contest at halftime.
The Lady Mustangs' Kylie Byrd recorded 12 saves in goal, as well.
"They have a good keeper, so she saved most of (our shots)," Campbell said. "... Really, it was our passing. It opens up the middle and makes it easy."
Despite the outcome, Owen said, the Lady Panthers will need a better performance against Ohio County if they want to redeem themselves after coming up short in last year's region championship game against Owensboro Catholic.
"We're glad we won and came out on top, but we need a whole different game on Thursday," Owen said. "We're definitely ready tor revenge and we're ready to hopefully make it to state and prove ourselves."
OHIO COUNTY 2, OWENSBORO CATHOLIC 1
Ella Gaddis scored with 6:55 left in the contest to lift the Lady Eagles to their first region title game in nine years.
"It's a huge deal," Ohio County coach Courtney Calloway said. "The girls have worked super hard. This was their goal all season.
"Last year, Catholic sent us home early (a 3-2 loss in the regional semifinals), so it was nice that we could kind of repay it this year. But I'm super excited for my girls, for sure. They deserve it."
The Lady Eagles (14-6) jumped out to an early lead with a goal from Kinsey Embry in the 12th minute, but the Lady Aces responded when Ashton Logsdon scored on an assist from Lily Moore midway through the first half.
The teams entered the break deadlocked at one goal apiece.
"At halftime, we regrouped," Calloway said. "We weren't playing our game like we normally do, so halftime allowed us to calm down for a second. ... Getting the nerves out of the way in the second half, we just came out there and finally played like Ohio County soccer knows how to play."
And, Calloway added, her team's performance set the tone for what's to come Thursday.
"They're on a pretty big high I think, so hopefully we can just keep that moving forward," she said. "These girls have never experienced anything like that, so hopefully we just keep the momentum going."
Despite the loss, Lady Aces coach Lindsey Overby said it was still a positive campaign as many of her players worked to learn new positions and fought to overcome a short bench and lack of depth all year.
"We knew, going in, it was going to be a tough season," she said, "but we made the best of it. We've been successful in some areas where we didn't think we would be. Overall, I'm super proud of them.
"I foresee us, in the next couple of years, being back to where we were. It's just a building year, and we knew that going in, so it's just looking toward the future and doing what we have to do."