|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands senior Noah Sellers (7) battles Newport Central Catholic's Chad Brewer (10) for the ball in Thursday's battle while Tommy Steppe (20) comes in. NewCath won 3-2.|
Newport Central Catholic Throughbred senior forward Andrew Liles entered the rivalry game at Morscher Field with a team-high 12 goals. He scored two in the second half to lift the Thoroughbreds (8-2 overall) to a 3-2 victory over the Bluebirds (3-6-1) in a 36th District contest.
The first goal came with 30:58 left in the game to tie the game at 2-2. The game-winner came with 5:17 remaining.
"District games are always tough," said Matthew Winkler, Highlands Head Coach. "Teams tend to come out and play their best. Mistakes are difficult to overcome. You try to minimize mistakes. Sometimes it goes in your favor. Sometimes it doesn't."
NewCath outshot Highlands, 14-8 including 7-5 on goal. Junior Paul Tully had four saves for the Bluebirds.
The Bluebirds built a 2-1 halftime lead as both teams played 4-4-2 (defender-midfielder-forward) sets. Ben Seiter and Ben Schweitzer had one goal each with Ethan Mills and Mark Baron recording assists.
Despite the loss, Highlands is in better shape record-wise than a year ago. The Bluebirds opened the season 0-6-3 before beating NewCath, 1-0 in the regular season and winning the 36th District championship.
"They're starting to put things together slowly but surely," Winkler said. "We see progress every game. Sometimes the results don't show the progress. We'll be a different team in 10 games."
Teams like to be playing their best in the postseason and Highlands hopes to go on a run similar to two years ago come October. The Bluebirds won the 9th Region title in 2013 and advanced to the state quarterfinals.
Highlands returns to action Saturday at North Oldham. Game time is 3:30 p.m.
Highlands 3, Dayton 0:
The Ladybirds (6-8 overall, 2-0 district) got back into the win column in a 36th District game, 3-0 (25-15, 25-13, 25-19).
Malorie Hegge led Highlands with eight kills and Sydney Kroger had eight digs. Isabella Schultz led the Ladybirds with five aces.
Highlands travels to Boone County on Monday. Game time is 7 p.m.
Highlands 1, Boone County 0:
The game scheduled at Tower Park was called off because Boone County could not field a team due to injuries so Highlands won 1-0 by forfeit. The Ladybirds moved to 4-3 on the season.
Highlands plays at Newport Central Catholic on Saturday. Game time is 6 p.m.