|Four Nice Victories for Highlands Athletics Including Defeat of Defending State Champion|
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands linebacker Ivan Roller makes a tackle in the freshman game Thursday at David Cecil Memorial.|
But sophomore Kenzie Nehus put the ball in the back of the net to help the Bluebirds (6-1 overall) down the defending Ohio Division III state champion Cincinnati Summit Country Day Lady Knights, 2-1. Summit Country Day (4-2) also won the state championship in 2015.
"This is just a testament to the girls mentality, the coaching staff's mentality of you have to play all 80 minutes," said Alex Dean, Highlands Head Coach. "Every coach says it in every sport I'm sure. But it's making sure even in practice you go the whole time in practice giving it your all. The girls have been doing it all preseason. When you do it, things like (Thursday) happen."
Nehus scored her third goal of the season off an assist from senior Lindsey Meyer. Meyer hit a penalty kick with 15 minutes left in the game to tie it at 1-1. Meyer leads Highlands with nine goals and six assists for 24 points and Nehus is third with five goals and five assists for 15 points.
"Honestly, I just have to thank (Assistant Coach Nina) Kearns. Before the game, she gave us a speech," said Abby Stein, Highlands junior midfielder. "It just taught us that we're all playing for each other rather than for ourselves. Once you have that mentality, I feel like we worked so much better together."
Highlands out-shot Summit Country Day, 13-10 including 11-6 on goal. Senior Maggie Hinegardner made five saves for the Bluebirds at goalkeeper.
The Bluebirds had three corner kicks and five fouls. The Lady Knights had three fouls and two corner kicks.
Highlands takes on the two-time defending state champion West Jessamine (5-2-1) pm Saturday. Game time is 7 p.m.
Highlands 3, Walton Verona 1:
The Bluebirds (7-2 overall) took care of the visiting Bearcats (8-4) by scores of 25-21, 25-12, 25-27, 25-7.
Highlands played without three key juniors in setter Audrey Graves, hitter Casey Dunn and defensive specialist Rylee Kirschenbaum. Sophomore Laura Winkler stepped into the setter role and had 53 assists to go with two aces.
"I think (Walton-Verona) is a pretty solid program," said Katelyn Sallee, Highlands Head Coach. "They've gotten better and better every year. They're definitely not a team to look past, nor is any team. We really fight to keep that mentality through every match. This night was a special one for us. We added players left and right. We practiced with some potential line-ups and really just had to throw in some freshmen and made some courageous moves."
Highlands recorded 53 kills, 13 aces, 26 digs and six blocks. Junior Ava Hockney had a monster night at the net with 20 kills and five blocks. Senior Margot Seidel had 15 kills, three aces and nine digs. Senior Olivia Gessner had seven digs and five aces and freshman CC Shick recorded 11 kills. Madison Clore added three aces.
"It was definitely a lot different without having Audrey as the setter," Hockney said. "But I think Laura really stepped up and did a great job. She was able to move the ball around a lot and she was really smart with her setting decisions and looking at the match-ups on the other side of the net."
Highlands plays in the September Slam at Scott starting Friday.
Highlands 10, Covington Holmes 1:
The Bluebirds (9-0-1) rolled to another convincing 9th Region victory on the road. The Bluebirds are 5-0 in region play.
"Regardless of who the opponent is, we're always trying to get better," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Head Coach. "Part of getting better is making sure you're starting with the same intention. We have the same goals in mind every game really. We want to start quickly. We want to have high pressure. We want to make them defend us and I think we did that successfully. We were dominant throughout the game and I think the score indicated it."
Highlands out-shot Holmes, 37-3 including 17-1 on goal. Senior Luke Schweitzer and Jackson Lehrter had five points scoring two goals and tallying one assist each. Schweitzer has six goals and two assists on the season for 14 points. Senior Carter Holmes also had two goals for Highlands and sophomore Max Farris had two assists.
Seniors Cary Gorrigan, Demetrius Sarakatsannis along with juniors Caymon Stevie and George Gates added goals for Highlands. Junior Porter Hedenberg added an assist. Stevie has eight goals and an assist on the season to tie Hedenberg with a team-high 17 points. Hedenberg has five goals and seven assists. Farris is third on the team with 16 points on six goals and four assists.
"It was pretty good. Everybody on the team got minutes," Sarakatsannis said. "We had some good passes and good shots. In the first half, it wasn't really working out that well. It took us some time to get the ball under our feet because we had a weather delay for a while and we only had 20 minutes to warm up. We got it going once we made a few subs."
Highlands takes on Louisville Collegiate (5-2-1) on Saturday at Tower Park. Game time is 7 p.m.
Third Match Cancelled this Week:
Highlands was not able to play Newport Central Catholic at AJ Jolly Golf Course because of the weather. The Bluebirds play in the Bowling Green Invitational at Bowling Green Country Club on Saturday. Tee time is 1 p.m.
Highlands 46, Campbell County 6:
The Bluebirds moved to 3-0 on the season with another convincing victory. Running back Jake Welch had two rushing touchdowns with Griffin Richter and Landon Mays recording one rushing touchdown each. Mason Welsch and Foster Schuett had one receiving touchdown each from quarterback Isaac Surrey and Will Hartman returned a kickoff for a score.
Highlands plays at Simon Kenton on Thursday. Game time is 6 p.m.