|Highlands Golf Holds Senior Day|
|Highlands junior goalkeeper Meg Gessner kicks the ball off in a recent game.|
The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team (3-0-1) entered the prestigious Lexington Catholic Lady Knights Challenge Cup facing a familiar opponent in the Louisville Sacred Heart Valkyries.
The Bluebirds scored the game's lone goal in the first half and made it stand in a 1-0 victory. The play again Wednesday in the cup in a quick rematch against 9th Region rival Notre Dame at 8 p.m. back at LexCath.
"It's probably the best regular season cup that there is," said Alex Dean, Highlands Head Coach. "It gets us ready for the postseason. We treated (Monday) like a final four game like it was last year. It's a rivalry game. It was an ugly win, but a win is a win."
This marked the third shutout of the season for the Bluebirds. Highlands senior Jasmine Rehberger played goalkeeper in the first half before junior Meg Gessner took over in the second half.
Highlands and Sacred Heart have met deep in the state tournament the last two years. The Bluebirds beat the Valkyries, 1-0 in the semifinals in overtime last year and Sacred Heart beat Highlands, 2-1 in the state championship game in 2018.
Junior forward Faith Broering scored the game's lone goal with 16 minutes left in the first half. She drew a penalty and hit a free kick 35 yards out in the upper right corner. Broering has three goals and two assists on the season for eight points.
Highlands senior defender Katelyn Vaught drew the assignment of defending Sacred Heart senior Allie George. She's drawn some tough assignments defensively this year including Notre Dame junior Natalie Bain.
"She's really talented with the ball at her feet," Vaught said of George. "She's pretty fast, too and is very smart. She makes very good decisions with her moves. Staying patient with her is the hardest part."
The tournament continues Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The final games take place Saturday.
Highlands Holds Senior Day:
The Highlands Bluebirds golf teams put out nice displays for the five seniors on the golf teams.
The Highlands boys have four seniors in Justin Gabbard, Luke Muller, Isaiah Lampkin and Mac Valentine. The girls have one in Ellie Rowland.
"I think what the parents and coaches did was great," Rowland said. "It was really nice to be able to celebrate our senior year even though the circumstances aren't the same as they usually are. But I really enjoyed it and had a great time."
Both teams played dual matches at Highland Country Club. The Highlands boys defeated Beechwood, 138-157. They've won both dual matches this year.
"It's a bittersweet day. They're good players, but they're even better young men," said Bert Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "We shot (two) under par as a team - the first time I can remember in match that we've shot under par since I've been here. That shows the collective effort as a team."
Muller led the way shooting a 32 on the Par 35 course to earn medalist honors. That included an eagle (two-under) on the final par four hole. He is the second player this year to earn an eagle on a par four hole. Eighth grader Hank Shick had the other one.
Sophomore Joel Craft shot 33 for two under. Gabbard shot 36 and junior Jack Schneider finished the scoring with a 37. Valentine, Lampkin and freshman Ryan Toole also golfed shooting 45s.
"I have had a great time playing on the golf team," Valentine said. "I've met new people and found a great environment. I've had a blast."
The Highlands girls played Newport Central Catholic, but did not have an official match because NewCath brought just three golfers. Four are needed for scoring.
Rowland shot 41 in the final regular season match of her career. Junior KJ Toole led the way with a 38. Rowland shot 77 in the Grant County Invitational on Saturday. She's been hitting greens and putting better lately.
"She's kept her head the whole season," Highlands girls golf Head Coach Mike Lipscomb said of Rowland. "She's never gotten real hot or cold. She had a bit of emotion after her last regular season match."
Eighth grader Jenna Richey shot 54 and freshman Bailey Marcus shot 55. Sophomores Elise Brown and Aly Welch shot 60 and 64 respectively.
The Kentucky Golf Coaches Association All-State Invitational takes place on Saturday and Sunday at the University of Kentucky. The Highlands boys qualified as a team with Rowland and Toole going down for the Highlands girls.
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