|Bluebird Golf Headed to State|
|Twitter Photo. The Highlands Bluebirds Golf Team stands with the trophy after finishing runner-up in the 8th Region Tournament at Houston Oaks Golf Course in Paris on Monday afternoon.|
Highlands recorded a 344 total that wound up 18 more than champion Grant County. Only two players hit below 80 in co-medalists Ryan Mitts from Grant County and Jordan Hughes from Fleming County with 79s. The top two teams in each region move on to state in addition to the top three individuals not on either the region champion or runner-up squad.
"It was the whole reason we're going to the state tournament," said Bert Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "Even though we're young, we're very experienced. Last year, we didn't do a very good job of fighting and staying in there when the times got rough. This year, we were a little more seasoned. We had a lot better patience and didn't give up."
Highlands has seen individuals hit career-lows all season. That's didn't happen today. But Luke Muller tied for fifth shooting an 83 to lead the Bluebirds. Fellow freshman JD Gabbard tied for seventh shooting an 84. Highlands senior Aaron Verst tied for 11th shooting 87 and junior Ryan Leigh shot a 90 to tie for 15th to round out the Bluebird scoring. Steven Grimme was the fifth Highlands golfer and he finished 40th shooting a 100.
"I think it was a really tough course," Gabbard said. "The scores look bad. But we stayed in it (mentally). That's why we came in second and not third or fourth even though we didn't play our best (Monday)."
The state tournament is Oct. 2 through 4 at the Bowling Green Country Club.
Highlands 3, Conner 0:
The Ladybirds (14-7 overall) had little trouble moving to 8-4 in 9th Region play with a sound 25-18, 25-11, 25-16 victory. This marked the second win over the Lady Cougars in three days.
Highlands had 35 kills, 10 aces, 46 digs and three blocks. Junior Margot Seidel led Highlands with 10 kills and two aces. Sophomore Casey Dunn had eight kills, an aceand 13 digs. Sophomore Ava Hockney had eight kills and two blocks with senior Gracie Schweitzer had four aces and 10 digs. Sophomore Audrey Graves added three aces.
"We scored a lot of points early," said Katelyn Sallee, Highlands Head Coach. "We had a couple lulls, but were able to maintain composure. We took care of business."
The staff has moved some players up from the junior varsity and freshman teams to get some varsity experience. One was sophomore Rylee Kirschenbaum. Laura Winkler and Becca Eaton also saw some action in the game.
"I think that playing on the varsity is great for expanding my level of play having good competition," Kirschenbaum said. "The team chemistry is really good. The juniors and seniors are so accepting to the younger girls. It's a very fun and loving program."
Highlands plays host to Simon Kenton on Tuesday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Notre Dame 4, Highlands 1:
Highlands led 1-0 at halftime. But the Pandas (12-4-2) tied the game just 12 minutes into the second half, took the lead on a penalty kick minutes later then added two insurance goals. This marked the first 9th Region loss for the Ladybirds in nine games this year.
"I think that we didn't finish some very wide-open shots in the first half and they come out and they put in a few shots from a distance that usually don't go in," said Brian Wiefering, Highlands Head Coach. "The momentum changed and we started playing not disciplined. That's what happens. When you're down 2-1 and you're not disciplined. The next thing you know, it's 4-1."
Notre Dame outshot Highlands, 13-6 including 7-3 on goal. Highlands sophomore goalkeeper Maggie Hinegardner recorded three saves. The Pandas also had four corner kicks to none for the Ladybirds (11-4-1).
The game turned out to be as physical as usual. Highlands had 12 fouls to 10 for Notre Dame. The only yellow card of the game came against the Ladybirds.
Sophomore Lauren Deckert scored the lone Highlands goal in the first half. That marked her 11th goal of the season good for second on the team behind Maria Wiefering's 18.
Highlands plays at Newport Central Catholic on Wednesday. Game time is 6 p.m.