|Bluebird Boys Golf Wins NKAC Division II Match|
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands freshman southpaw CC Shick goes up for a kill in a recent game.|
Senior Ryan Leigh won medalist honors shooting a 72 and sophomore Justin Gabbard shot a 75 on the 18-hole course. Leigh said his driver was broke last week. But fixing that helped in this match. Leigh placed second among all divisions and Gabbard finished fifth.
"Luke and Justin have been real consistent," Leigh said. "Some other people didn't play as well and I played really well. Hopefully, we can all play really well during region. Usually if I hit a bad shot, I try to forget about it and move on to the next shot. A couple years ago if I had two bad shots, I'd think the day was over. I wouldn't give up. But I would lose focus. Now if I hit a bad shot, I know I need to focus more and hit a good one the next time."
Eighth grader Joel Craft shot a 79 and sophomore Luke Muller shot an 86 to round out the Highlands scoring. Senior Brady Walz also participated in the tournament.
"The third and fourth guys are the real separators in a tournament," said Bert Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "Our three man finished first and our four man finished in the top 10. That was the difference for us to be able to win."
Highlands plays in the Region 8 Meet on Sept. 25 at AJ Jolly Golf Course.
Highlands 3, Newport 0:
Highlands (17-5 overall, 3-0 36th District, 8-4 9th Region) handled the Ladycats by 25-12, 25-3, 25-6 scores.
The Bluebirds recorded 30 kills, 30 assists, 24 aces and 19 digs. Senior Olivia Gessner led the way with eight aces, six digs and a kill. Junior setter Audrey Graves had all 30 assists to go with five aces and three digs. Senior Margot Seidel had six kills and two digs with junior Ava Hockney leading the way with eight kills and freshman middle blocker CC Shick tallying seven kills.
One area Highlands has tried to specifically improve in is serve reception. Junior Brooke Biltz had four digs and junior Rylee Kirschenbaum had four aces.
"Coach (Sallee) has taught us a lot about defensive intensity and really to be ready for anything," Biltz said. "If you miss one, move on to the next one because there are obviously going to be hard hitters and not everyone is going to get a touch on the ball. Always be ready to help a teammate if they are down or they only get like a little touch and you can hustle to get better (touch) to better (receive) the ball."
Highlands Head Coach Katelyn Sallee said she was glad to see freshmen Nicole Ossege and Madison Clore receive more action than usual in two games. Ossege had seven kills. Clore had four aces and a dig.
"We came out playing smooth and steady," Sallee said. "We played clean volleyball."
Highlands plays at Conner on Thursday. Game time is 7 p.m.
Highlands 2, East Central (Indiana) 2:
For the first time this year, the Bluebirds (12-0-2 overall) allowed more than one goal in a game.
Highlands had won 11 straight entering the game. The Bluebirds have outscored the opposition, 54-7.
But Highlands overcame the goals to force a tie on the road. The Bluebirds recorded 27 shots including eight on goal. The Trojans had 17 shots with eight on goal. Senior goalkeeper Will Burnham recorded six saves for Highlands.
"Over the course of the season, we haven't been down very often," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Head Coach. "But the times we have, we've come back and battled back. At times, we've taken our time getting back in it. It's bringing us down to ground level. We prided ourselves early in the season as being a team that outworks and brings a high-energy approach forcing teams to defend us. We've done the latter pretty well. But we haven't always had high energy and been the hardest-working team at times. Had we been that team, I think the result would have worked in our favor a little bit more."
East Central scored with six minutes left in the first half. But Highlands tied the game four minutes later.
"We would have better intensity before the game if our team didn't think, 'If we just show up with our jerseys on that day 'Highlands' that are going to automatically win," said Elijah Stevie, Highlands junior. "I agree with Coach Niedert. We should've played more aggressive. It was just one of those days. We would rather learn from our mistakes now than in the postseason."
The Trojans retook the lead early in the second half. But Highlands senior Mike Penrod tied it with 21 minutes left on a free kick. That marked his third goal of the season.
"We started the second half. It was truly unlucky," Niedert said. "Sometimes, it just happens that way. Everything was pointing in our direction. When those things happen, it deflates you a little bit. It was the right call. Sometimes, the timing can be poor. That was our issue."
Highlands travels to Hamilton Southeastern located not far from Indianapolis on Saturday. Southeastern is ranked sixth in Indiana in the latest Maher rankings. Game time is 1:30 p.m.