Story Matters

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Thursday Highlands Results

Highlands Handles NewCath in 36th District Battle

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Rylee Kirschenbaum (12) follows through on a serve in a recent game.
The Highlands Bluebirds (11-2 overall) found themselves in a challenge to play their fast-paced brand of volleyball and not down to the level of the opponent, even in the rivalry game.

Highlands senior setter Audrey Graves said the team was fired up before the game. But once the game started, the seniors made sure everyone stayed on an even keel. That propelled the Bluebirds to a sound 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-15) 36th District victory. NewCath (2-5) has lost five straight.

"It's always going to be an exciting game. On the court, (it was) about looking to each and being like, 'Hey, take a deep breath. We're good. Get this pass' really grounded everybody so that they could do the jobs that we needed to do," Graves said. "We do that anyway. Whether it's hand hugs or anything like is really helpful to keep your mind right."

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Highlands Girls Move on in LexCath Tournament

The Highlands Bluebirds will be playing in the championship game of the Lexington Catholic Lady Knights Challenge Cup.

Highlands (7-0-4 overall) defeated the host Lady Knights (8-2-1), 7-6 on penalty kicks in the semifinals of the winner's bracket to advance to the title game for the first time since 2016. Highlands will play Saturday at 7 p.m. for the title against either Sacred Heart, Notre Dame or Lexington Tates Creek.

Tuesday Highlands Results

Highlands Soccer Wins Again; Volleyball Loses to Region Power

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands sophomore CC Shick (right) goes up for a kill in a recent game.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team will end up playing three times in three days.

Highlands (6-0-4 overall) shut out the Beechwood Lady Tigers, 4-0 on Tuesday at Tower Park. The Bluebirds moved to 4-0-1 in 9th Region play.

"They've been trending upwards in terms of their skill," said Alex Dean, Highlands Head Coach. "They definitely have a good amount of skill and they definitely play with effort. (Beechwood Head Coach Josh Young) is in his first year, but he definitely did a good job making sure that his girls played hard."

Monday, September 9, 2019

Victories for Highlands Soccer Teams

Bluebirds Win Fourth Straight Against Colonels

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands Bluebirds trap the ball in a recent home game. Highlands edged Covington Catholic, 1-0 on Monday in Park Hills.
It may look as though the Covington Catholic Colonel boys soccer team is struggling based on the 3-6 record.

But the Highlands Bluebirds (7-2-2) did not fall for that deceptive record making a first-half goal stand in a 1-0 victory on the road. The Colonels have lost to the likes of Lexington Henry Clay, Cincinnati (Ohio) Country Day, Dayton (Ohio) Carroll, Columbus (Ohio) St. Francis de Sales and Cincinnati (Ohio) Archbishop McNicholas.

Highlands has won four straight in the series against the Colonels including a 2-1 win in the 9th Region championship in Park Hills last year. Highlands is 4-0-1 in region play.

"We've realized in these games we're going to grind it out," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Head Coach. "When we're the better team, it's a 50/50 game. When we're the lesser team, it's a 50/50 game. It really doesn't matter what kind of record you got."

Highlands had 16 shots to 10 for the Colonels with three on goal to six for CovCath. Highlands senior goalkeeper Nick Fischer had three saves.

The lone goal came 13 minutes into the game. Junior Max Farris dribbled into the box and fired off a shot. Senior Caymon Stevie put the deflection home for the score.

"When you have the team chemistry that Highland has, it takes a couple passes and maybe a couple dribbles though people," Farris said. "It just all worked out."

Highlands had to overcome some free kicks in the second half not far from the goal. But the Bluebirds cleared every one of them. Neither team had a red card. But the Colonels did receive two yellow cards.

"Our midfield plays a lot of defense and a lot of offense," said Porter Hedenberg, Highlands senior. "You have to do both jobs, which is nice. We all three work together really well and we have good chemistry with our six on defense and our six on offense."

Highlands plays host to Covington Holmes (1-5) on Thursday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Soccer, Girls:
Highlands 4, Louisville DuPont Manual 2:

Highlands (5-0-4 overall) overcame a 2-1 halftime deficit against the Lady Crimsons (4-3-1) to win the first game at the annual Lexington Catholic Lady Knights Challenge Cup. Highlands takes on the hosts in the next round Wednesday at 8 p.m.

"In the first half, we didn't start slow, but we didn't have the start that we wanted," said Alex Dean, Highlands Head Coach. "We were a little fatigued and we kind of told the girls you don't have to go out and play 80 minutes. Just go out and give us five or 10 minutes of good effort. We were down at halftime. We had a talk at halftime. We can play with any team in Kentucky, but we have to act like it. We just can't think that we can walk out there and get a win. That was a good thing being able to overcome a halftime deficit."

Sophomores Faith Broering and Jade Rehberger had one goal and one assist each in the game for three points. Senior Kelsey Mathis and sophomore Macy Hedenberg had one goal each with sophomore Chloe Bramble tallying two assists. Bramble has a team-high seven goals to go with five assists for a team-high 19 points.

"The upperclassmen definitely encourage us," Macy Hedenberg said. "If we do something wrong, they're all so positive and encouraging and we're all best friends."

Highlands takes on Beechwood on Tuesday at Tower Park. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Saturday Highlands Results

Highland Soccer Teams Tie Solid Opponents

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior goalkeeper Nick Fischer had four saves in the 1-1 tie against Lexington Henry Clay on Saturday.
The Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team (6-2-2 overall) hoped to finish the week with three nice wins.

The Bluebirds earned a man advantage in the second half of the game against the Lexington Henry Clay Blue Devils, a state semifinalist last season, after the Blue Devils earned a red card. But Highlands could not capitalize and the teams settled for a 1-1 tie. Henry Clay came into the game ranked third in the state in the Maher rankings.

Highlands Boys Golf Wins Bourbon County

First Tournament Win of Season for Bluebirds

Twitter Photo. The Highlands Boys Golf team won the Bourbon County Invitational on Sunday.
The Highlands Bluebirds boys golf team won its first tournament of the season Sunday.

Highlands won the Bourbon County Invitational shooting a 321 team total on the Par-72 course. Junior Justin Gabbard led the way shooting a 74 and placing third individually. Gabbard won medalist honors at the Shelby County Invitational and the Beechwood Invitational earlier in the season.

Six Wins in Three Days for Highlands Volleyball

Bluebirds Fend off Lady Warriors for Tournament Title

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands volleyball team celebrates after winning the September Slam at Scott High on Saturday. The Bluebirds are 10-1 on the season.

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. From left, Highlands sophomores CC Shick, Lauren Buemi and junior Laura Winkler set up in the front row before senior Casey Dunn sets to serve. In the back row are setter Audrey Graves (left) and senior defensive specialist Rylee Kirschenbaum (red jersey).
It came down to one last burst playing as much volleyball as the Highlands Bluebirds (10-1 overall) did over a three-day period.

Highlands found itself back in the championship game of the September Slam hosted by Scott after capping off pool play with two wins Saturday morning. The last opponent of the three-day stretch proved to be solid.

The Southwestern Lady Warriors located about two and a half hours away just outside the Pulaski County county seat of Somerset near Lake Cumberland came into the game with a sparkling 10-2 record. Southwestern's only losses came to host Lexington Lafayette and Station Camp (from the Nashville, Tennessee suburb of Gallatin) in the Bluegrass Invitational a little more than a week ago.

Southwestern has won the 12th Region a number of times over the years including last year. The Lady Warriors beat Paintsville in the state tournament before losing to Campbell County in the state quarterfinals. But Highland had beaten the Lady Warriors in each of the past two September Slam Tournaments.

The Lady Warriors came out the aggressors in the first game building a 10-1 lead. But once sophomore CC Shick landed a hard kill, the vaunted, fast-paced Highlands attack took off. Highlands rallied to win the best-of-three set, 26-24 then 24-19 to win its first September Slam title since 2008 when current Highlands assistant coach Molly Wehage-Maxwell was a senior.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Highlands-Campbell County Sidebar

Younger Highlands Players See First Friday Night Lights Action

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands Student Section known as the OZone had a Country theme in the game against Campbell County.
With the game out of hand in the second half in the first shut-out for the Highlands Bluebirds football team in two seasons, some players saw their first Friday Night action.

Sophomore wide receiver Jacob Welch made the most impressive debut with three touchdowns on four touches for the Bluebirds. Welch had two rushes for 22 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 38 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore offensive lineman Nate Weidner took over at center in the fourth quarter.

"I was excited to get out there and play," Weidner said. "You just have to get out there, know your plays well and get after it."

The last shut-out for the Bluebirds came on Oct. 6, 2017 by a 47-0 score over Dixie Heights in Fort Thomas. The closest Highlands came to that last season was a 40-3 win at Ryle on Sept. 7. 

OZone Goes Country:

The Highlands student section known as the O-Zone has a theme for most of the football games. Against Campbell County, it was a Country theme and it was a white-out against Scott to open the season. One senior who took part in the country them was Caraline Walsh. Walsh is a member of the Chamber Choir and the National English Honors Society.

"There's nothing better," Walsh said. "Every year when we play Campbell County, this is the go-to theme. I feel like it represents our school. I'm glad to show our pride."

Honoring Lorenzen:

Highlands senior quarterback Collin Hollingsworth wore number 22 instead of the usual 10 in honor of the late Highlands and University of Kentucky great quarterback Jared Lorenzen. Highlands painted the 22-yard lines blue in Lorenzen's honor before the season.

Around Class 5A, District 5:

The Bluebirds watched part of the fourth quarter of the Covington Catholic-Lexington Catholic game on the big screen in the locker room.

Covington Catholic trailed 38-24 in the fourth quarter, but came back to beat the Knights, 39-38 and stay undefeated at 3-0. Junior quarterback Caleb Jacob snuck it in from a yard out and senior running back Daniel Felix ran over the right side for the two-point conversion to give the Colonels for the first time in the game.

CovCath held on with a fourth-down stop at its 46. On 4th-and-1, LexCath quarterback Beau Allen lined up under center with five wide receivers. He tried the quarterback sneak, but the Colonel defense snuffed it out with around 1:32 left in the game.

Allen, a University of Kentucky commit, competed 23-of-32 passes for 448 yards and five touchdowns. Jacob threw for 247 yards and a touchdown. Senior tight end Michael Mayer had six catches for 71 yards for the Colonels.

The Colonels play host to Dixie Heights on Friday at 7 p.m.

Conner moved to 2-1 with a 35-0 win at Dixie Heights. The Cougars play host to Lloyd Memorial (2-1) on Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.

Cooper and Boone County both lost for the first time this season falling to 2-1. The Jaguars lost 20-16 in the battle of Union against Ryle at home on Friday and Lloyd Memorial beat Boone County, 22-14 in Erlanger.

Next Opponent for Highlands:

The Bluebirds travel to Independence to face the Simon Kenton Pioneers on Friday at 7 p.m. in a battle of 2-1 teams. The Pioneers opened the season with a 38-27 win over Lexington Henry Clay before facing two Ohio opponents.

Simon Kenton lost to Cincinnati Anderson, 44-16. But the Pioneers bounced back to beat the Cincinnati Oak Hills Highlanders.

Highlands Wins Two at September Slam:

The Bluebirds moved to 7-1 on the season with two wins in the September Slam on Friday at Woodland Middle School. Highlands bested Covington Holy Cross, 2-0 (25-15, 25-16) before taking out South Laurel from the 13th Region, 2-0 (25-9, 25-17).

"Our focus has been not only to maintain our composure, but our level of play," said Katelyn Sallee, Highlands Head Coach. "We want to control the tempo of the match regardless of who we're facing. This weekend is going to be a really big test to have five matches back-to-back-to-back. You have to stay disciplined. You have to stay on it and they did that."

In the victory over Holy Cross, Highlands had six aces, 16 kills, one block, 15 assists and 52 digs. Senior outside hitter Casey Dunn led the way with two kills, three aces and 14 digs. Senior setter Audrey Graves had 15 assists, one ace and seven digs. Sophomore middle blocker CC Shick had seven kills and assisted on a block.

Highlands junior Laura Winkler and sophomore Lauren Buemi had three kills each. Buemi also had two assisted blocks. Senior Ava Hockney had the team's lone solo block to go with an ace.

The senior defensive specialists also came up big. Senior Rylee Kirschenbaum had 12 digs and an ace with Brooke Biltz adding nine digs.

Against South Laurel, Dunn had seven kills, one assisted block and 10 digs. Graves had 18 assists, three digs, three kills and two aces and Hockney had three kills and two assisted blocks. Shick recorded four kills, one solo and one assisted block.

Winkler played some setter and had six assists and two digs. She also had two kills. Kirschenbaum had a team-high 11 digs. Buemi, Hockney and sophomore Nicole Ossege added three kills each.

"In a game of three, I feel like, 'Let's just get this over. Let's do what we can do," Ossege said. "We have to play to our level and not down to anyone else's level. We always focus on team and then we're very fast with whatever we do so I always feel that we need to maintain that speed and just try to run more things when we have the opportunity with the less-advanced teams."

Highlands continues pool play Saturday morning at Scott. The Bluebirds take on Calvary Christian (6-6) at 9 a.m. on court one and Conner (2-6) on court two at 10 a.m.

Soccer, Girls:
Highlands 1, Evansville (Indiana) Reitz Memorial 1:

Highlands (4-0-3 overall) tied the Tigers in the annual Zionsville (Indiana) Invitational on Friday. Zionsville is located northwest of Indianapolis.

Reitz Memorial (4-0-1) came into the game as the 16th-ranked team in the country in the Top Drawer Soccer Fab 50 poll. Reitz owns four state championships in school history.

"I felt that we played one of the best teams that we'll see this regular season. Going into the game, we kind of looked at what they've done so far this year," said Alex Dean, Highlands Head Coach. "We knew it was going to be tough. We wanted to make sure that we played well. If we could get a win, great. A tie is great. A one-goal loss where we're playing hard is a win for us. We were fighting hard. We gave up a goal pretty early. We made sure we didn't give up another one. Then, we had an outside back step up and hit one from about 18 (feet) out to tie the game then we kind of made sure we didn't lose the game after that. After the game. we were pretty excited. The other team was kind of upset. That was a good feeling even though it was just a tie."

Highlands senior midfielder Kelsey Mathis tied the game in the second half. That marked her first goal of the season.

"I think this team is really strong all-around and I think everyone contributes what they can," Mathis said. "I'm glad I could help the team. I think we played well considering we left school early, had to ride up a few hours and shortly warm up."

Both teams had 18 shots. Reitz had 14 on goal and Highlands had nine. Highlands junior goalkeeper Jasmine Rehberger had 13 saves.

Highlands plays Carmel (Indiana) at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday to conclude the tournament.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Thursday Highlands Results

 Highlands Volleyball Records Huge Win; Boys Soccer Defeats Holy Cross

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands Student Section known as the O-Zone is shown here at a soccer game. The O-Zone helped the Highlands volleyball team to a victory Thursday over Dixie Heights.
The Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team had this game marked on the schedule for a big reason.

The Dixie Heights Lady Colonels (4-2 overall) beat the Bluebirds (5-1) three out of four meetings last year including the 9th Region Quarterfinals, 3-0. But Highlands won the battle of top-five 9th Region teams, 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-17) in Fort Thomas to move to 2-0 in region play.

Highlands Girls Soccer Dominates NewCath

Bluebirds Have Won Seven Straight vs. NCC

Twitter Photo. The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team led by this score at halftime in the showdown with Newport Central Catholic on Wednesday.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team (4-0-2 overall) picked a great time to play its greatest game of the season.

Highlands ventured to Silver Grove and dominated the host 3-3 Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds, 8-0 in a 36th District showdown. Highlands has won the last seven meetings against NewCath.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Tuesday Highlands Results

Highlands Volleyball, Boys Soccer Teams Record Victories

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Audrey Graves sets up on a serve in the game at Walton-Verona on Tuesday. Graves had 53 assists and an ace in the victory.
The Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team (4-1 overall) may have received the tough game needed before a huge game Thursday.

Highlands held off the Walton-Verona Bearcats (5-3) by a 3-2 count (25-18, 18-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-7) for a third straight win. But Highlands missed the opportunity to end it in four games and wants to do better finishing those opportunities.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Weekend Highlands Results/Football Sidebar

Huddleston Receives Post-Game Recognition

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior linebacker Brycen Huddleston earned the Cumberland Falls Pigskin Classic Defensive MVP honors.
Highlands senior linebacker Brycen Huddleston earned the Defensive Most Valuable Player honors after the Cumberland Falls Pigskin Classic loss to Knoxville Catholic, 31-28 on Saturday.