The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team (4-0-1 overall) has another chance at a Lexington Catholic Challenge Cup after taking down their big arch-rival for the second time in five day.
The Bluebirds downed the Notre Dame Pandas (3-2), 1-0 to advance to the championship game of the Lexington Catholic Lady Knights Challenge Cup on Wednesday. Highlands avenged a 3-2 loss to the Pandas in the LexCath Tournament title game last year.
"This season has been a big challenge for us playing Notre Dame for the third game of the season, playing Sacred Heart then playing Notre Dame for the fifth game of the season has been crazy," said Alex Dean, Highlands Head Coach. "It's definitely jump-started our season into mid-season form after game five. I think we understand the importance of competing in these games. It's not about wins and losses during the regular season. It's about getting the best effort and advancing your play each game and each week that we move through the season."
Highlands plays in the championship game of the LexCath Cup on Saturday. Game time is 7 p.m. against either Simon Kenton (3-1) or Lexington Dunbar (2-0).
Highlands made its lone goal in the first half stand just 14 minutes into the game. Freshman forward Laney Smith took the ball up the right side with Notre Dame junior Eleanor Simkonis trailing. Smith faked to the middle drawing out Panda senior goalkeeper Kate Moore. Smith slid the ball to Moore's left for the score.
That marked the fifth goal of the season for Smith. Smith also has one assist for 11 points.
Highlands recorded its fourth shutout of the season. Junior Meg Gessner played goalkeeper in the first half and senior Jasmine Rehberger took over in the second half. That switched from the first four games when Rehberger started the game and Gessner played in the second half.
"This year's defense is a never give up mentality," Rehberger said. "The defense was doing amazing. We were constantly getting riddled with shots because they needed to score. They were pressing everyone up and our defense was solid. They always followed through. It's amazing when that happens."
Since last winning the tournament in 2006, Highlands has gone back to the championship game in 2018, 2016 and 2013. But the Bluebirds have not been able to bring home the gold in the annual tournament. Highlands has played in this tournament every season dating back to 2002. Simon Kenton beat Highlands, 2-0 in the 2016 title game.
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