|Bluebirds Finish Regular Season with Convincing Win|
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands junior Will Hochleutner (13) dribbles up the field in a recent game against North Oldham.|
The Bluebirds (12-7 overall) took down the solid Simon Kenton Pioneers (15-5) by a convincing 5-1 mark at Tower Park. They finished the solid week with two wins over teams with 15-plus wins. They recorded a huge 2-0 win at Ryle on Tuesday.
Highlands outshot Simon Kenton, 22-6 including 15-3 on goal in the victory. Pioneer junior goalkeeper Jack Mairose had 10 saves and Bluebird junior goalkeeper Will Burnham only had to make two.
"Our guys are ready to go," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Head Coach. "As I said at the beginning (of the season), they bought into (the Highlands coaching staff's philosophies). This could have very well been one of their last games on this field depending on how things shake out in the post-season. When our upperclassmen identify that, our underclassmen get after it to support them. We're a dangerous team. I think we showed we can dominate a team that has a lot of positive results."
Junior Carter Holmes led Highlands with five points on two goals and an assist. Senior Nick Gish added a goal and assist for three points. Gish has eight goals and a team-high six assists on the year for 22 points and Holmes has six goals and an assist for 13 points.
"It felt good to break into the scoring column," Holmes said. "We're trying to make sure before games we're focused and prepared for the game. Some games (this year), we haven't been as focused as we should be. We've come out and not played our best soccer."
Highlands had five fouls and five corner kicks to three fouls and just one corner kick for the Pioneers. Simon Kenton had one penalty kick just outside the top of the 18-foot-box, but it sailed high.
Neither team had a red card. But Simon Kenton did receive two yellow cards to none for Highlands.
Highlands started out of the gate fast scoring two goals in the first 10 minutes. Gish found fellow senior Elias Ordonez for the first goal just three minutes, 24 seconds into the game before Gish scored a few minutes later with 30:55 left in the first half. That put Ordonez into the double-digit mark with a team-high 10 goals this year.
Ordonez and Gish are two of six Highlands seniors who celebrated Senior Night. The other six are Joe Broering, Blake Shuley, Brady Finnegan and Alan Ford.
"It's a great win against a great team," Finnegan said. "I feel we're having a fun time. We trust each other and we're just out there playing like we should."
Simon Kenton did manage to get one back with 22:37 left in the first half. Junior forward Christian Seger scored his team-high 25th goal of the year to cut the margin to 2-1.
But Highlands answered with 15:03 left in the half. Holmes scored his first goal to put the Bluebirds up 3-1 at halftime.
The Bluebirds added two insurance goals in the second half. Holmes found Ford with 17:38 left in the game before his second goal came with 2:21 left in the game. That marked Ford's first goal of the year.
"We've had a few hiccups the past couple games," Niedert said. "Some of them are not necessarily soccer-related. There's other things that have gone on personally that have kind of rolled onto the team and it becomes stressful and people are on edge. These guys in so many ways support one another whether it's soccer or otherwise. They do everything for me. I do everything for them that I can. We're working for each other. We're excited and ready to go for the post-season."
Highlands takes on Newport Central Catholic (10-8) in the 36th District championship Tuesday at Tower Park. Game time is 7 p.m.
Football, Junior Varsity:
Highlands 48, Dixie Heights 0:
The Bluebirds moved back to .500 at 3-3 on the season with their first shut-out of the season.
Sophomore Hunter Ahlfeld and junior linebacker Jackson Hagedorn had pick-six interceptions for the Bluebirds. Sophomore Tyler Brune added a few rushing touchdowns for Highlands.
Highlands plays Covington Catholic at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Cecil Memorial Stadium.