|Bluebirds Volleyball Goes 1-1 in September Slam|
|PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior CC Shick (middle) goes up for spike attempt against Simon Kenton while Laura Winkler and Madison Clore (33) get in position. Highlands went 1-1 in the September Slam at Scott on Saturday.|
The Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team may have suffered its first loss of the season Saturday.
But the Bluebirds rebounded to win the afternoon game against the hosts in the annual September Slam Tournament. Highlands lost 2-1 to the Simon Kenton Lady Pioneers (17-25, 25-19, 15-12) in the morning before defeating the host Scott Lady Eagles, 2-0 (25-22, 25-10). Highlands won this tournament last year.
Highlands hopes to play as consistent as the first game in the loss to Simon Kenton and in both games against Scott. The Bluebirds lost that rhythm in the second two games against the Lady Pioneers.
"I think we're slowly learning just how to stay steady emotionally, stay positive and stay engaged as a team," said Katelyn Sallee, Highlands Head Coach. "We're just trying to work out some of those kinks. I think we did a much better job the second match of staying together and kind of unified so that was good to see."
Highlands had defeated Simon Kenton in Independence on Thursday in five games. Teams played just two games this year in the September Slam as a result of Coronavius 2019 limitations.
In the first game against Simon Kenton on Saturday, Highlands had a .084 hitting percentage recording 29 kills on 107 attempts with 20 errors. The Bluebirds also had 29 assists, three aces and 48 digs. They did not land any blocks. Senior right side hitters Ella Murray and Beka Sergent hurt the Bluebirds from the outside.
Senior Laura Winkler put a nice game together recording seven kills, 19 assists, one ace and nine digs. Highland had some success in the middle with junior Lauren Buemi recording six kills and junior Avery Cavacini making five.
"For more consistency, it's just confiding more in your teammates," Cavacini said. "I know for me personally, it's making sure anyone keeps the confidence even after making a mistake. You just to tell yourself everyone else is making mistakes. You have to shake it off and move on after every single point. You have to get back in the game and stay focused the whole entire time."
Junior defensive specialist Madison Clore led Highlands with 14 digs. Junior Sophia Sarakatsannis added nine.
The hitting percentage in the second game against Scott jumped to .228 as Highlands connected for 26 kills on 79 attempts and just eight errors. The Bluebirds also had five assisted blocks, 22 digs, 26 assists and four aces.
"They're super aggressive. When we start putting pressure on a teams, things shift," Sallee said. "We can't just be the ones sitting for the ball. We have to go on offense, too. Stronger defensive stands at the net and bigger swings on offense helped us in that second match."
Winkler led the way with seven kills, 17 assists, and two digs. Junior CC Shick had eight kills and two assisted blocks. Buemi had three kills, an ace and three assisted blocks. Senior Maria Little added seven assists and an ace.
"We came together more as a team and played more aggressive," Little said. "We had more control of the game. (Laura and I) are trying to lead the team as seniors. We're trying to make good decisions and connect with our middle hitters and the outside hitters."
Highlands travels to St. Henry on Tuesday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Highlands Finishes Sixth in Camacho Classic:
The Bluebirds shot a team score of 387 to take sixth out of 11 teams in the tournament at Eagle Creek Golf Course in Dry Ridge.
Senior Ellie Rowland took third to lead Highlands shooting 77 behind Maddi Hudson (71) from Grant County and Eva Maley (72) from Cooper. Grant County won the tournament shooting 319.
Junior KJ Toole shot an 87. The other two scorers for Highlands were freshman Bailey Markus with 110 and eighth grader Jenna Richey with 113. Sophomore Belle Bryant also participated shooting 141.
Highlands plays Newport Central Catholic in a dual match at Highland Country Club on Monday. Game time is 3:45 p.m.
Highlands Plays in Tough BGIT:
The Bluebirds played at the site of the state tournament finishing fourth out of eight teams that finished. The tournament was cancelled because of inclement weather.
Highlands shot 314. Taylor County won the tournament shooting 295. Senior Luke Muller finished second in the tournament shooting a four-under 68 on the par 72 course shooting five birdies (one under) and just one bogey (one over). Taylor County sophomore Seth Smith won the tournament shooting 66.
Senior Justin Gabbard shot 75 to tie for 10th. Sophomore Joel Craft and eighth grader Hank Shick rounded out the scoring shooting 81 and 90 respectively. Senior Isaiah Lampkin also golfed shooting 96.
Highlands plays in the Bourbon County Invitational on Sunday.
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