The Lady Eagle Classic soccer tournament begins Thursday at Airport High. With an expanded 24-team field, including two teams from Georgia, makes the event the largest regular season girls soccer tournament in the state.
The tournament began as a small-scale, four-team event in 2004. The field expanded to eight teams in 2005 and to 16 teams in 2007. The 24-team bracket makes its debut this season, requiring four fields – two at Airport, Fulmer Field and Old Barnwell Field. Twenty of the teams entered were involved in the state playoffs last spring at various levels.
Host Airport has claimed three straight tournament championships.
The tournament format features straight bracket play to determine the three group champions and a wild card entry for the four-team finals bracket. The semifinal matches are set for 6 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday with the championship bout to follow on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Eagle Stadium.
Bracket A - Airport, Academic Magnet, Hart (Ga.) County, Woodmont, Greenville, Lugoff-Elgin, Pinewood Prep, Boiling Springs.
Bracket B - Hilton Head Prep, Barnwell, West Florence, St. James, Chapin, Richland Northeast, Aiken, Gaffney.
Bracket C - South Aiken, Gilbert, White Knoll, Belton-Honea Path, North Augusta, St. Vincent’s (Ga.), Swansea, A.C. Flora.
First-round Midlands matches
Thursday - At Eagle Stadium: Swansea vs. A.C. Flora (5 p.m.); Chapin vs. Richland Northeast (6:20 p.m.); Airport vs. Academic Magnet (7:45 p.m.). At Airport No. 2: Gilbert vs. South Aiken (6:20 p.m.).
Friday - At Airport No. 2: Greenville vs. Lugoff-Elgin (5 p.m.). At Fulmer Field: Belton-Honea Path vs. White Knoll (6:15 p.m.).