For many Carroll County schools, the state regional drawing last night proved to be a frustrating and mysterious experience.
Several squads, including the Francis Scott Key field hockey and the Westminster girls soccer teams, meet unfamiliar teams in the first round.
And others like the North Carroll boys and girls soccer squads face an all-too-familiar opponent: Liberty.
Here's the breakdown by sport:
Boys and girls soccer: North Carroll travels to nearby Sykesville to clash with Liberty in the first round of the Class 3A West Region next weekend. The Panthers girls squad (6-5-1) defeated the 5-5-1 Lions, 3-1, Tuesday, but North Carroll coach Jim MacDonald groaned when informed of the regional pairing.
"I'm disappointed that we have to play a team that we just played on Tuesday," said MacDonald, who led his team to the state final last year. "Going through the experience of making it to the finals will be nothing but an advantage to the team. They know what it takes to get there and the kids on the team want to get back there again."
On the boys side, the 6-4-2 Lions walloped the 8-5 Panthers, 6-2, last Tuesday. Liberty fell to Linganore, the eventual Class 3A champion, in the regional final last year.
In another first-round matchup in the same region, the South Carroll boys (6-4-2) and girls (6-6-1) host Kennedy of Montgomery County.
The boys (2-9) and the girls (1-8) squads of Francis Scott Key received first-round byes in the Class 2A West Region and welcome Bethesda-Chevy Chase in the second round. Westminster (boys 2-6-1, girls 9-2-1) also received a first-round bye and will wait to play the winner of Meade and C. Milton Wright.
Field hockey: In the Class 4A North, 11th-ranked Westminster (9-1-1) won't have to play until the regional semifinal where it will welcome the winner of Dulaney-Perry Hall on Nov. 2. The Owls are coming off two impressive victories over No. 8 North Carroll.
The Panthers play host to Liberty next Thursday in this Class 3A North Region matchup. North Carroll (10-3) has overpowered the 5-7 Lions in the past.
South Carroll (5-5-1) travels to Thomas Johnson, which lost to the Cavaliers, 3-0, Oct. 7. In the Class 2A West region, 7-3-1 Francis Scott Key received a first-round bye and will play host to Blake next Friday.
Volleyball: Fifteenth-ranked South Carroll, fresh off a heartbreaking loss to Thomas Johnson that would have given the Cavaliers their first Central Maryland Conference title in more than a dozen years, meets North Carroll on Nov. 3 in the first round of the Class 3A West. South Carroll (9-3) swept the two-match series against the 4-7 Panthers by identical 3-0 scores in a span of five days.
Liberty (8-3) travels to Montgomery County to face Richard Montgomery on Nov. 3.
Fifth-ranked Francis Scott Key (8-2) will play host to Linganore on Nov. 3. Westminster (3-6) visits North County.