The regional playoff pairings from the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association were drawn yesterday, and the brackets for the boys soccer Class 3A North Region are among the more intriguing.
It features 13-time Harford County champion Fallston -- the defending regional titlist -- along with ninth-ranked Franklin and 11th-ranked Patapsco, each from Baltimore County.
While No. 10 Fallston wouldn't meet one of those teams until the title game, Franklin will be at Patapsco in a first-round game Oct. 29.
"This is the third time we've played them in the regions [all victories]," said Patapsco coach David Ingle, "and it should be as tough as any of the other games. But this is the first time in the regions we'll have them at home."
This season, Patapsco -- a Class 2A state runner-up to River Hill of Howard County the past two years -- defeated Franklin, 4-3, in overtime. The Patapsco-Franklin winner must then defeat the Kenwood-Dundalk winner to earn a title-game berth.
If Fallston defeats Bel Air in the first-round game, it will have to defeat the Eastern Tech-Randallstown winner to reach the championship game.
Girls soccer: The Class 3A North region also offers the most interesting girls matchup since No. 14 Bel Air and No. 9 Fallston also meet in their first game. Both have first-round byes.
The Bobcats -- defending regional and Harford County champs -- bounced Fallston, 2-0, last year in the region semifinals. They also edged the Cougars, 2-1 in double overtime, two weeks ago.
Bobcats coach Bill Zimmerman isn't worried about playing Fallston. "It doesn't matter," he said. "If two teams were going to come through, I'd say it's bad, but with only one coming through, it doesn't matter who you play. You've got to beat them to get through anyway."
If the Bobcats advance to the finals, they likely would meet No. 12 Franklin.
Field hockey: Defending Class 3A state champ and No. 9 Fallston is also on a collision course with Bel Air in the East region. The Cougars edged Bel Air in overtime last week to clinch their ninth straight Harford County title and should meet the Bobcats again in the semifinal.
Baltimore County champ and No. 7 Catonsville drew Mt. Hebron in the first round in Class 2A South. Defending Class 1A champ Hereford moves up to Class 2A North and could face its toughest game from North Harford in the semis.
Volleyball. No. 12 Towson and No. 14 Catonsville have a first-round meeting in Class 2A North. The two battled through a regular-season match won by Towson in the fifth game, 15-11.
The winner could end up facing No. 13 Hereford, last year's Class 1A North champ, in the regional final. In the opposite half of the draw, the Bulls have an opening-round match with Overlea.
Defending Class 4A North champ and No. 3 Dulaney likely will face its toughest competition this year from Western, its potential semifinal opponent. Both teams have first-round byes. The Lions face the Perry Hall-Douglass winner in the quarterfinals while the Doves draw the Parkville-Lake Clifton winner.
No. 8 C. Milton Wright got the benefit of the draw landing in the opposite half of the East bracket from No. 3 Severna Park and No. 6 Broadneck. The Mustangs will meet Arundel in the quarterfinal.