|Another Good Day for Highlands Fall Teams|
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands senior Carter Holmes goes after the ball in a recent game against Louisville Trinity. The Bluebirds defeated St. Henry, 3-1 Thursday.|
But Highlands made a list of the teams that handed the Bluebirds their eight losses last year on the whiteboard in the shelter at Tower Park. Highlands (6-0-1 overall, 3-0 9th Region) crossed a third one off that list Thursday with a 3-1 victory over the St. Henry Crusaders (0-5-1, 0-4-1 region) at Tower Park. Highlands has outscored opponents, 27-2 on the season and opponents have outscored St. Henry, 17-3.
"(St. Henry) is definitely an organized team," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Head Coach. "They were able to defend us pretty well. I think it frustrated us a little bit. Anymore, our guys kind of know what to expect. They know scores of other teams and I think we came in a little overconfident. It kind of showed with our demeanor as the game started."
Highlands, ranked seventh in Kentucky in the Maher rankings, out-shot St. Henry, 20-11 including 8-3 on goal. Highlands senior goalkeeper Will Burnham had two saves playing in the first half and junior Nick Fischer had the other one in the second half.
"(Thursday) was one of our worst games of the season actually," said Alex Ford, Highlands senior defender. "We still got the result. However, we should never have given up a goal. For the defense, we resorted to a lot of just playing over top of the balls instead of connecting together like we normally do. Even myself, we took way too many touches instead of playing as a team. But we did play pretty well. I feel like we won a lot of the balls out of the air. We were able to swing the ball in the back a little bit. But when we got into the midfield is where we kind of shut down."
Highlands senior Luke Schweitzer scored just four minutes into the first half. That was his second goal of the season.
"We scored on some of our first four opportunities," Niedert said. "But those things don't always go in your favor. We have aspirations of being a state champion caliber team and in doing so, we're about one-third of the way through (the regular season). (Thursday) wasn't really a good mark of us showing growth as the season progresses. Now we have had some pretty good showings over these last few games. We've set a high bar for ourselves. Setting a high bar and attaining goals is what is going to get the job done at the end of the day. These guys are always looking to better themselves for the most part. When we play three games per week, sometimes it's hard to bring 100 percent every time you step on the field. We're learning from it just like everything else. We just need to figure out what get us going from the start."
Junior Caymon Stevie scored the other two Highlands goals. Stevie has five goals and an assist for a total of 11 points this season. He is second on the team in goals and points. Sophomore Max Farris has a team-high six goals and two assists for a team-high 14 points.
Senior Porter Hedenberg had an assist on the first Stevie goal that put Highlands up 2-0. Hedenberg is tied with senior Carter Holmes with three assists on the year.
Niedert did mention the Trinity game will not be made up. Highlands trailed 1-0 Saturday in the first half at Tower Park before lightning forced the cancellation of the game. Games have to make it to halftime to become official. Trinity handed Highlands one of the losses last year.
Highlands travels to Simon Kenton on Saturday. Game time is 6 p.m.
Highlands 3, Dayton 0:
The Bluebirds (6-1 overall) bounced back from their first loss of the season with a convincing win over Dayton (5-6) to open 36th District play by 25-7, 25-12, 25-8 scores. Dayton fell to 0-2 in district play.
Highlands recorded 31 kills, 31 assists, 17 aces, 12 digs and two blocks. The Bluebirds recorded a .479 hitting percentage.
"We went that (Dixie Height game on Tuesday) and we didn't ever really get into it," said Katelyn Sallee, Highlands Head Coach. "They had a lot of big runs that we couldn't break. They served us really tough so we really worked a lot of serve and pass just to kind of get in system more. We talked a lot about just attitude and preparation and walking into a match like that that's really big in our minds. We really wanted that and it fell through our hands. We talked a lot about the mental side of things. (Thursday) was opportunity for us to put in play some of the things we worked on in practice."
Senior Margot Seidel and junior Audrey Graves led Highlands with five aces and junior Ava Hockney had four. Graves again distributed the ball well with 31 assists.
It helped that senior Olivia Gessner had another big game defensively with seven digs and junior Brooke Biltz had four. Highlands landed things home after that solid first pass. Hockney had nine kills with Seidel and freshman lefty CC Shick landing seven each. Hockney added two aces.
"Obviously, defense is a big part of the game," Gessner said. "You can't do anything if you can't get a good pass. Since in the back row, I'm in there most of the time, I'm just trying to help the girls figure it out because I've been there. For defense, I can also see what's going on at the net too so I also try to help Audrey out to see where the open spots. It's not just defense. It's all around the court."
Highlands takes on the defending 9th Region champion St. Henry Lady Crusaders on Tuesday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Highlands 153, Bishop Brossart 161:
The Bluebirds earned their second dual match win over an 8th Region opponent in three days on the front nine holes of the AJ Jolly Golf Course. Highlands Head Coach Bert Richey said the rain Wednesday made a difference in softening the course compared to the hard, dry conditions Tuesday.
"We played pretty well. We still have some things we have to work on, but (Thursday's) round was an improvement over the way we had played the last couple of weeks," Richey said. "It was nice to get a good round against a good opponent. If you miss the green (Thursday) because it had rained, it just stays near the green so you have an easier shot. When courses get really dry and hard, they play fast. If you don't really know how to control your golf ball, it runs away on you. You get more trouble."
Highlands sophomore Luke Muller led the way with a 37. Sophomore Justin Gabbard and eighth grader Joel Craft both shot 38 and senior Ryan Leigh rounded off the scoring with 40.
"After playing at Jolly a couple times this year, I think we're finally starting to really, really figure it out," Muller said. "If we all play the way we did (Thursday), we'll be fine in region. For me, it was my wedge game. I hadn't had it down, but (Thursday), I figured it out. Once I combine my wedges with making putts, I'll be doing better."
Highlands takes on Newport Central Catholic on Thursday, Sept. 6 back at AJ Jolly Golf Course. Tee time is 3:45 p.m.
Highlands 191, Cooper 233:
It turned into a big day in many ways for the Blue and White at Hickory Sticks Golf Course in California (Kentucky). Highlands is 7-0 in dual matches this year.
They not only moved to 7-0 in dual matches, but they also met Head Coach Mike Lipscomb's fiancee in Caitlin Beck. Beck, a 2008 Highlands graduate, played sweeper on the 2005 and 2006 state championship girls soccer teams before helping the Louisville Cardinals women's soccer team to a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2011. Lipscomb, a 2008 Newport Central Catholic grad, played golf for the Thoroughbreds.
"(Beck) and I went out (golfing) and I was able to teach her," Lipscomb said. "She said, 'If you can teach me, you can teach these girls for sure.' It was a good time. She just decided to come out and support the team. She's been wanting to do that. I was excited to have her there. The girls were excited to get to meet her. They got to talk with her for a couple minutes and get to know her. I can't say that the reason that we won. But it definitely helped."
Freshman KJ Toole shot a 42 to earn medalist honors in the match. Sophomore Ellie Rowland finished second shooting a 45. But the other two scorers in senior Olivia Hopper and junior Clara Bushman also finished below Cooper's top score of 56 with scores of 51 and 53 respectively. Seniors Marlena Auch and Gwen Culyer also participated in the match for Highlands.
"I would say one thing that's changed from this year to last year especially is we've been able to bond a lot more as a team rather than as individuals," Hopper said. "We've been able to have more time spent together outside of (golf), which then bring us closer together when it's time to get some work together. That's one thing as an individual and as a team that has really helped us improve and stay consistently dropping (scores) as the season goes on."
Highlands takes on Scott on Sept. 4 at Highland Country Club in Fort Thomas. Tee time is 3:30 p.m.