|Highlands, West Jessamine Tie 1-1|
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands senior Sophie Steppe (19) heads one back toward the opposing goal in a recent game.|
Highlands tied West Jessamine but lost 1-0 to Sacred Heart on Aug. 26. West Jessamine beat Sacred Heart, 2-1 on Aug. 16. Sacred Heart beat Lexington Catholic, 3-1 to open the season on Aug. 14. But LexCath beat West Jessamine, 3-2 on Aug. 23.
Highlands came away having outshot the Lady Colts, 10-6 including 5-2 on goal. The Ladybirds had four corner kicks to three for West Jessamine. Both teams are 6-2-1 on the season.
"That game could have gone either way," Wiefering said. "But to walk away knowing you had more opportunities than the state champs, it lets this team know they are as good as we've told them. At the same time, you can look at the crazy score lines. You realize this team can beat anyone and can be beat by anyone. I have not seen a score line that has been so crazy ever. When you look at the top-tier teams and look at the teams you thought might not even be middle-level tier, it just doesn't make sense so the only sense you can make out of it is if you play down to the other team's level, you can get beat."
Highlands sophomore goalkeeper Maggie Hinegardner had to make just one save and sophomore Anna Rexford made four for the Lady Colts. West Jessamine had a chance late when the ball came free in front of the goal, but the shot went wide. But for the most part, Highlands did a great job clearing balls that went into the 18-foot-box.
"It just says that we do a good job of staying in front of the ball and when it gets past us, we do a good job of covering for each other and playing smart," said Hanna Buecker, Highlands junior defender. "I think it just says we have a really good work ethic. We all have to work hard and play as a team to play well."
The lone Lady Mustang goal came just one minute, 30 seconds into the game. Highlands tried to clear a boot toward the goal, but two defenders collided. That allowed sophomore Caroline Absher to score an easy goal.
Highlands tied the game with 27:21 left in the game. Gwen Gorman fed Lauren Deckert for a nice shot. That marked the fourth goal of the year for Deckert and the fifth assist for Gorman. Gorman is tied with Lindsey Meyer for the team-high on assists for the season.
"We're playing a new format where I'm the target," Deckert said. "We have two attacking instead of two forwards and that's working out surprisingly well as you can see. We're very excited about that."
The game turned physical from the get-go. Both teams had a few players leave with injuries. West Jessamine had 11 fouls to nine for Highlands and both teams had two yellow cards.
"I told them it would be the most physical game we've played this year," Wiefering said. "They were state champions for a reason. After last year's one big loss (a Highlands 6-0 win at West Jessamine), they were probably coming up here for revenge and wanting to show us why they are the defending state champions."
Highlands plays host to Bishop Brossart on Monday. Game time is 8 p.m.