For the last three years, Frankfort High School hasn't had much success as host of the Kentucky Class A State Soccer Cup. In fact, the Panthers have been ousted in the first round each year.
But optimism runs high throughout the young Panther lineup this time around when it faces 16th-ranked Lexington Christian Academy Saturday at 3 p.m. on Field 1 at Sower Soccer Field.
Both the boys and girls tournaments begin Saturday morning and run through Sunday evening. The boys final is set to begin Sunday at 5 p.m. followed by the girls title game at 7.
LCA marks the fourth consecutive time the Panthers have opened the tournament with a tough opponent. In 2000 Frankfort opened with Louisville Collegiate and in 2001 and 2002 it opened against St. Henry.
"We've had tough draws every year, and I think even those losses have been big pluses for our program," FHS coach Sherrill Smith said. "You have to take a win and grow with it, and you have to take a loss and grow with it. I think we've done that. We competed very well last year. I think this team in the future has great, great things ahead of them."
Frankfort (4-6-1) has won three of its last five games after starting the season 0-4. A big win over a talented LCA team would continue the Panthers' stellar play and pay dividends as the team competes farther into the season, Smith said.
For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.