Highlands Soccer Teams Face Cooper in 9th Region Quarterfinals
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands junior Mike Penrod makes a move in the 36th District championship game against Newport Central Catholic on Tuesday. Both Highlands teams take on Cooper in the 9th Region Quarterfinals at Tower Park.|
That's exactly what happened in the draws Saturday. The Ladybirds (16-4-1) and Bluebirds (13-7) drew Cooper in the 9th Region Quarterfinals to be held at Tower Park on Monday at 7 p.m. and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. respectively.
The Cooper squads finished 33rd District runner-up. The Lady Jaguars are 14-8-1 overall and the Jaguars are 10-8-2 overall. The boys teams were slated to play on Sept. 20, but the game was cancelled and not made up.
Across the region, the Ryle squads claimed the 33rd titles and the St. Henry won the 34th District crowns over the Dixie Heights squads. Defending state runner-up Covington Catholic won the 35th District and Notre Dame won the 35th District girls crown. Both defeated the teams from Covington Holy Cross.
The Highlands girls are 11-1 in region action including 6-1 against teams in the 9th Region Tournament. The lone region loss came 4-1 against Notre Dame at Tower Park on Sept. 16. The winner of Monday's game faces either St. Henry or Holy Cross on Wednesday at Dixie Heights at 7:30 p.m. The championship is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. back at Dixie Heights.
"I am happy with it," said Brian Wiefering, Highlands girls soccer head coach. "Obviously, there are two teams on our side I never got a chance to see and know very little about each team. No matter who we play, our goal is to win the region and at some point would have to get through whoever is supposed to win this thing."
Highlands won not see the six-time defending region champion Notre Dame Pandas (16-5-2) until the championship game. Notre Dame faces NewCath in the region quarterfinals on Monday and the winner plays either Ryle or Dixie Heights on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
A team will have to beat the Bluebirds at Tower Park for them not to win the boys region championship. Tower Park is playing host to the 9th Region semifinals and title game.
"It's a fair draw," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Head Coach. "Year in and year out, if you're going to win Region 9, you're doing to have to expect to beat two to three of the top 10-15 teams in the state. This year is no exception regardless of the draw. I feel very strongly that we can rise to the occasion and make a long run through this post-season."
The Highlands-Cooper winner will face either CovCath or Dixie Heights on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the region semifinals. The championship game is 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Highlands finished 3-2 against the region field. The Bluebirds are seeking their first region crown since 2013 while the girls are looking for their first region championship since 2010.