|Bluebirds Complete Oldham County Trifecta|
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands junior Alex Ford (middle) goes up to head the ball out in Saturday's game against North Oldham.|
But in this battle, Highlands found itself on the positive end of a 1-0 victory over the Pandas (9-4-2) in the third-place game of the Lexington Catholic Cup in a game that they did not have their seniors available because of the Homecoming Dance and injuries. Highlands last faced Notre Dame in this annual tournament back in 2013 winning that game, 2-1 on penalty kicks.
Highlands moved to 3-4 against Notre Dame since Brian Wiefering took over as head coach in 2014. But the Ladybirds have been unable to unseat the six-time region champs in the postseason. This includes a 1-0 defeat at Tower Park in the 9th Region championship last year.
"It was exciting. We practiced for two days on a specific plan and we had to think of a few things coming in to play Notre Dame and that's don't show all your cards," Wiefering said. "For that group to walk away with a 1-0 win was more than I expected. I felt that they could win. They didn't win with just one shot. They had multiple opportunities and played good defense."
The game's lone goal came in the 60th minute when Highlands junior forward Gwen Gorman scored on an assist from sophomore forward Lauren Deckert. That marked the seventh goal on the season for Gorman and fifth assist for Deckert.
"We did change a lot of our strategies in the middle," said Abby Stein, Highlands sophomore midfielder. "We were still able to get back on defense. At the same time, we were able to push the ball up the field."
Highlands bounced back from a 3-0 loss against eventual tournament champion Louisville Sacred Heart on Wednesday. Wiefering took the responsibility for that loss.
"I was absolutely out-coached," Wiefering said. "We played them once this year (a 1-0 loss in Louisville on Aug. 26). We came in with the very same formation, very same game plan and we actually prepped based on what they did the last time we played them. They came in with a totally different game plan and totally different formation. The girls just weren't ready for that and that falls on me. It was 2-0 before I could figure out what was really going on."
Notre Dame recorded 15 shots to 14 for Highlands. But the Ladybirds had five corner kicks to two for the Pandas. Sophomore goalkeeper Maggie Hinegardner had 12 saves.
The Ladybirds do not play again until Saturday at Tower Park. Beechwood comes to town for a 7:30 p.m. contest.
Highlands 3, North Oldham 2:
The Bluebirds (9-4 overall) completed the tri-fecta against the Oldham County schools with a 3-2 win over the Mustangs (5-6-2).
Seniors Elias Ordonez, Nick Gish and freshman Max Farris scored the Highlands goals. Blake Shuley and Porter Hedenberg had the assists. Farris' game-winner came with about 15-20 minutes left in the game.
"North Oldham is a tested team, but they have one of the most difficult schedules in the state this year," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Head Coach. "I think full-strength, we get a different result. But at the end of the day, our guys got together and got the job done."
Highlands had 21 shots including 12 on goal. All 10 Mustang shots were on goal.
The Bluebirds had some interesting things happen at goalkeeper. Already without junior Will Burnham, Highlands sophomore goalkeeper Nick Fischer had to come out with an injury. Carter Holmes and Alexander Foubert had to fill in there. Foubert had six saves and Fischer made two.
"We had to work with what we have and sometimes it's not conventional," Foubert said. "But we got through it and eventually came out with a win."
Highlands travels to Cooper on Tuesday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Bluebirds take Third at Grant County Classic:
The Bluebireds shot a 302 edging out Lexington Henry Clay for third by a stroke. Ryle won it with a 294 and Grant County shot a 300.
Highlands freshman JD Gabbard finished third individually shooting a 70. The other Bluebird golfers were Aaron Verst, 76; Ryan Leigh, 77; Luke Muller, 79; and Joel Craft, 81.
The Bluebirds plays in the conference tournament Monday.