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 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.
"It went very well. A lot of it was practice (Wednesday)," said Brooke Biltz, Highlands senior defensive specialist. "We got a lot of good reps in. We made sure to shift our defense in a way to stop Dixie's offense, which definitely helped us a lot. The OZone (Highlands student section) was great."
Dixie's two main middle hitters are seniors Irene Wogenstahl and Kamryn Webb and freshman Maia Long on the outside. Wogenstahl did not play in the game.
Highlands landed five blocks and a combo block. Senior Ava Hockney and sophomore Lauren Buemi had two solo blocks each with Buemi. Sophomore CC Shick had one solo block and combined with Buemi on another block. Hockney also had 10 kills, two aces and four digs. Shick also had eight kills.
Highlands recorded 35 kills, 35 assists, six aces and 52 digs to go with 13 attacking errors, four service errors, 10 passing errors, three blocking errors and six general ball-hitting errors. Senior Casey Dunn posted her usual numbers with eight kills, an ace and 13 digs. Senior setter Audrey Graves had 32 assists and nine digs with Biltz recording 10 digs.
"We really just talked a lot about mental preparation, focus then also a lot of physical changes," said Katelyn Sallee, Highlands Head Coach. "What are we going to do defensively? How are we going to prepare for this opponent? The girls came in. I think I called two timeouts and each time I called the timeout, I told them, 'Hey, mentally, emotionally, you guys are focused. I can tell.' That was something I hadn't seen all year. Mentally and emotionally, they played like they were winning the entire match and I think that was really special to see."
Highlands hit .196 for the match recording the 35 kills on 112 attempts. Junior Laura Winkler also had five kills with senior defensive specialist Rylee Kirchenbaum dinning up seven balls and serving two aces. Sophomore defensive specialist Madison Clore added five digs.
Highlands plays in the 10-team September Slam at hosted by Scott on Friday and Saturday. The Bluebirds take on Covington Holy Cross at 6 p.m. and South Laurel from the 13th Region at 8 p.m. at Woodland Middle School on Friday.
Highlands 4, Covington Holy Cross 1:
The Bluebirds recorded a 9th Region win at Tower Park. They moved to 6-2-1 with the victory.
Holy Cross is 2-3-2 on the season including 0-3-1 in region play. The Indians tied Ryle, 1-1 on Aug. 20.
"They're better than most of the Holy Cross teams I've seen," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Head Coach. "They have a few more players that can play. A part of us may have been looking beyond (Thursday). We got things squared away late in the first half. It was more true to how we play."
Highlands had 23 shots with 17 on goal to just eight shots with one on goal for the Indians. Highlands senior goalkeeper Nick Fischer made one save.
Junior forward Max Farris led Highlands with five points on two goals and an assist. Farris has team-highs with eight goals and four assists for 20 points.
Senior Caymon Stevie had the other two goals for four points for the Bluebirds. Senior George Gates and junior Brayden Gillman had one assist each.
"We really try to keep it on a game-by-game basis," said Adam Groneck, Highlands senior. "We don't try to look to what's coming next. It's always what's in the present, what's happening now. How can we prepare now for what may or may not come next?"
Highlands plays host to Lexington Henry Clay on Saturday. Game time is 5 p.m,