Story Matters

Story Matters

THE Official HHS Football Site

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How much did the Highlands, NC girls soccer teams escape by in the 9th Region quarterfinals?

Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands junior Kylie Schuerman sets up to take what would be the game's only goal against Boone County on Monday in the 9th Region quarterfinals. Highlands faces Notre Dame in region semifinals Wednesday.

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The minimum number of goals sustained both teams on this night in the 9th Region quarterfinals.

The Highlands Ladybirds and Newport Central Catholic Lady Bred soccer teams advanced to the region semifinals with 1-0 victories. The 36th District champion Ladybirds (12-9-1 overall) held off the visiting and 33rd runner-up Boone County Lady Rebels before the 36th runner-up Lady Breds beat the 34th champion St. Henry Lady Crusaders. The district champions played host in the region quarterfinals.

The semifinals take place Wednesday at Ryle. NewCath (14-5-1) takes on the hosts at 5:30 p.m. and Highlands faces defending state champion Notre Dame at 7:30 p.m.

Highlands had Boone County (13-11) on the schedule during the regular season. But the teams did not meet because the Lady Rebels scheduled two games on that day.

“I am walking out of here feeling a little lucky,” said Brian Wiefering, Highlands Head Coach. “We have to go back to the drawing board and work on some simple things. (The Lady Rebels are) a good team. In the offseason, I train a lot of them.”

The Lady Rebels pulled the offsides trap all game in their 4-4-2 (defender-midfielder-forward) and 4-3-4 formations. The Ladybirds drew nine offsides call compared to one for Boone County.

Both teams recorded eight shots. But Highlands had six on goal compared to five for Boone County and that made the difference. Kiley Anderson recorded four saves for Boone County and Highlands goalkeepers Olivia McQueary and Shannon Eaton made two each. This marked the 10th shutout of the season for Highlands thanks to the play of its back line in senior defenders Lydia Graves and Peyton Bankemper, junior Haley Crothers and freshman Sophie Steppe.

“Our back four do not get enough credit,” Wiefering said. “When they stay organized, I think they can be the best back four in Northern Kentucky.”

Defensively, Highlands focused on sophomore midfielder Peyton Black and junior forward Skylar Lehmkuhl. Black entered the game with 22 goals and Lehmkuhl had 11.

“They had a great team, especially (Black), whom I had to guard a lot,” said Claudia Hils, Highlands sophomore defender. “They were very dangerous. But our defense is very big on communication and always making sure we’re marking them tight. We’ve been doing really well.”

The lone goal of the game came with 10:59 remaining. Junior Kylie Schuermann dribbled through the Boone County defense and past Anderson for the score in the left part of the goal. That marked Schuermann’s fifth goal of the season.

The charge was created because Highlands won the balls in the middle of the field. Wiefering has credited players like sophomore Kiersten Clukey for doing that throughout the season.

“I have a great midfield with me,” Clukey said. “My game is sort of possession. I trust my teammates with the ball. We control the midfield that way.”

Highlands had a few of those opportunities in the first half. Leading goal-scorer Taylor Vaughn had a breakaway with about 21 minutes left, but could not get off a shot.

The Ladybirds had several opportunities to add another goal in the second half. With 20:52 left, Lauren Ossege drove up the left side and put up a shot that Anderson saved.

Boone County received free kick just outside the box with 4:21 left. But the shot sailed high. The Ladybirds drew nine fouls to five for the Lady Rebels.

It was a clean game. Neither team drew yellow or red cards.

Over in Erlanger, it took NewCath some time to adjust to the grass field. But NewCath earned the only goal it needed about four minutes into the second half when MiKayla Seibert scored off an assist from Audrey Giesler.

“We played mostly on the defensive in the first half,” said Kevin Turnick, NewCath Head Coach. “We calmed down and took it to them in the second half. The draw worked its way a little to our advantage. Now we have to take advantage of that and let it be a confidence-booster.”

The two teams tied during the regular season on Sept. 15, 1-1. NewCath eliminated St. Henry in the region semifinals two years go.

Sophomore Meg Martin had another great game at goalkeeper. She recorded six saves.

The semifinal match-ups:

Ryle beat NewCath, 3-0 on Oct. 1. But the Lady Breds played without three injured starters. The 33rd champion Lady Raiders enter the game with a sparkling 17-3-1 record. Ryle lost to Highlands, 2-1 in overtime in the region semifinals last year at Dixie Heights.

The second game pits two longtime rivals against each other. Notre Dame owns three state championships and Highlands has two. The Pandas have won three straight region championships.

But the Ladybirds are just 1-7 against the Pandas dating back to the 2010 region championship. That win came in the Lexington Catholic Cup last year. But Highlands battled Notre Dame in a 2-1 loss at Tower Park on Aug. 23.

“If we come out and our touches are even half of what they were (Monday), we will not win that game,” Wiefering said. “I think they will (match Notre Dame’s) intensity. They’ve been playing with intensity all year. I think they’re going to be ready for Notre Dame.”

Clukey said the defense needs to contain senior Mandy Arnzen. Arnzen has 12 goals and nine assists on the season. Sophomore teammate Christin Sherrard leads Notre Dame with 15 goals and nine assists.

Highlands has consistently battled Notre Dame for region crowns for years but has not won one since 2010. Newport Central Catholic has not won a title since 2001.  

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