Central Hardin and Elizabethtown have met in four of the last five 5th Region Volleyball Tournament championship games.
To make it five in six years, both clubs will have to navigate a region tournament field sprinkled with a few threats along the way to Thursday’s final.
Play opens Monday at John Hardin High School as Green County (10-4) meets Taylor County (8-8) with the winner advancing to face the survivor of the 8 p.m. matchup between Elizabethtown (13-5) and Bethlehem (20-5). The Lady Panthers and Banshees haven’t met this season.
In Tuesday’s quarterfinal pairings, Marion County (18-2) meets Thomas Nelson (15-6) at 5:30 p.m. with the Lady Bruins (21-1) squaring off with Hart County (6-9) at 8 p.m.
The semifinals are Wednesday and the region final at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The Lady Bruins and Lady Panthers have split those last four region head-to-head showdowns with Central Hardin beating Bardstown in 2016.
A limit of 200 tickets will be sold for each match — 100 for each team. Any unsold tickets go on sale to the public at noon of the day of the match. All fans must wear masks during their time in JHHS, school athletic director Mike McCune said.
Central Hardin has won its last 16 matches and has done it in dominating fashion, losing only three sets during the win streak. The lone loss was Sept. 17 to Elizabethtown, 3-2. The Lady Bruins have dropped six sets the entire year.
Defending region tournament champion Elizabethtown has won four of its last five outings. The Lady Panthers have lost to Notre Dame (19-3) twice this season as well as two matches to once-beaten Central Hardin and also to Sacred Heart (12-7).
The winner of the 5th Region will play at the winner of the 6th Region to open the state tournament. The first round is being played at campus sites.
Mercy and Bullitt Central own 15-2 records in the 6th Region heading into tournament play and are on the same side of the bracket.