Story Matters

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Tuesday Sports Results

Gabbard Moves on to Second Day of State Golf Tournament

HHSBlueBirdies Twitter Photo. Highlands junior Ryan Leigh fires a shot in the state golf tournament Monday. Highlands shot 331 as a team to tie for 17th out of 24 teams in the state tournament, but freshman JD Gabbard qualified for the second day as a freshman.
 The Highlands Bluebirds golf team had a nice showing on the first day of the state golf tournament Tuesday at the Bowling Green Country Club.

The Bluebirds tied for 17th as a team with Clay County shooting a 331. While the team did not make it to the second day, Highlands freshman JD Gabbard qualified for the second day shooting a 74 on the Par 72 course.

"I thought after our start, we did extremely well," said Bert Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "We got off to a rough start. I don't know if they were nervous. After we got through the first three or four holes, we did a good job of settling in. Being the first time in the state tournament for all these kids, I told them the first hole would be tough. It's not like in some sports where you can ease your way in. In this one, you have to perform from the first shot."

Of the 24 teams that qualified for the state tournament, the top 12 scores on the first day make it to the second day and the top 20 individuals not on those teams also move on to the second day. That makes a total of 80 golfers moving on to the next day.

The last time Highlands qualified for the state tournament came in 2010 when the Bluebirds won the 8th Region. Parker Harris, a 2015 Highlands graduate, made the state tournament three years in a row. But Harris did not move on to the second day until his senior year when he tied for 50th overall.

"(Gabbard) did a good job taking advantage of his opportunities (Tuesday)," Richey said. "He didn't hit his driver very well. I've been talking to him about how it's not how you hit it, but how you score and he did a great job managing his score. He was in trouble. He got it up around the green where he could save his score chipping. For a freshman for the first time, that's great."

Highlands junior Ryan Leigh fired an 82 for the Bluebirds and senior Aaron Verst had an 85. Freshman Luke Muller and junior Steven Grimme followed with 90s.

Louisville St. Xavier and Trinity finished with the top team scores of 290 on the first day with Lexington Christian and Taylor County just two and three shots behind. Lyon County's Cullan Brown had the top individual score with 67.

Richey said he will encourage Gabbard to be aggressive on the second day. The goal is to continue putting well to make birdies (one under par) to improve his score.

"The nerves are not totally behind me so the more aggressive I am, the less nervous I am," Gabbard said. "I know if I don't hit the ball great, there's nothing to lose because I'm only a freshman."

The first tee time is 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Soccer, Boys:
Highlands 2, Ryle 0:

The Bluebirds (11-6) handed the Raiders just their second loss of the season with an impressive 9th Region win on the road.

Ryle came into the game with a 15-1-2 mark. Its lone loss came 2-1 at Covington Catholic on Sept. 16. Highlands finished the regular season 4-2 in region play.

"It was a big win for us on their Senior Night. We had lost two games in a row," said Greg Bowman, Highlands assistant coach. "I wouldn't say it was a must-win, but it was definitely a season-changing game that we knew we needed badly. They worked hard. They deserved it."

Nick Gish and Elias Ordonez scored the goals for the Bluebirds. Gish finished with three points adding an assist and Alex Ford had the other assist.

Highlands had seven shots with four on goal. Bluebird goalkeeper Will Burnham had five saves.

"It was a team effort. The defense did really well," Burnham said. "We don't have the tallest defense, but our communication is really good. They didn't really have a ton of changes because we were good at stopping them (from) creating (them)."

The Bluebirds conclude the regular season with two home games. The first is Thursday against Cincinnati (Ohio) Madeira. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Highlands 3, Boone County 2:

Highlands (20-9 overall) hit the 20-win plateau on the season for the first time since 2010 with a 3-2 (25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 24-26, 15-7) win over the host Lady Rebels. The Ladybirds also moved to 10-5 in 9th Region play.

"It speaks volumes about how far we've come," said Katelyn Sallee, Highlands Head Coach. "It's exciting to not be fighting to be at .500 at the end of the season. Looking at a 20-plus win season is awesome for our program."

Sophomore setter Audrey Graves had five aces, 51 assists and 27 digs and senior Libero Gracie Schweitzer had two aces and 28 digs. Sophomore outside hitter Casey Dunn had 20 kills and junior outside hitter Margot Seidel had 19 kills.

"Trusting our coaches and teammates is a very important aspect of the game," said Ava Hockney, Highlands sophomore middle blocker. "We trust (Sallee) whenever she makes a change to our lineup and that she's doing it for the best of the team. Having a strong bond throughout the team makes playing a lot easier and more fun, and it has made this season a great one so far." 

Seidel also earned American Volleyball Coaches Association/Maxpreps Kentucky Player of the Week honors for last week. She had 265 kills, 49 aces, 23 blocks and 262 digs entering Tuesday's game.

Highlands takes on Cooper at home on Thursday. Game time is 7 p.m.

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