|Weather Forces Early Stoppage of Games|
|PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands soccer teams opened the season Thursday with wins.|
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The hot day gave way to the night.
But shortly after the darkness overtook the sky, lightning came with it. Luckily for the Highlands Bluebirds soccer teams, they played the necessary half to make their games official and record 9th Region wins in their season openers. The Highlands boys defeated Beechwood, 1-0 at Tower Park and the Highlands girls took down Beechwood, 4-1 in Fort Mitchell. The Highlands girls played six minutes in the second half before officials called the game.
It marked the first game for the Highlands girls new Head Coach Chris Norris. Senior Hailey Parks played the entire game recording seven saves for the Bluebirds.
"I feel like the girls are starting to buy into the system a little bit now," Norris said. "In particular, they were getting the balls into the middle then making some connection passes off that and getting the balls to corners for crosses."
Senior defender Jade Rehberger worked with the likes of senior Hailey Barton, juniors Ruby Smith, Bianca Hemsath and freshman Kate Fausz in the defensive backfield. Barton said the team saw that it can improve on there.
"I think our defense did really well," Barton said. "We just need to work on communication a little bit better. I think the seniors are going to try to keep everyone in high spirits and trying to be a team so that we can work toward all of our big goals and even our individual goals."
Senior forward Chloe Bramble found sophomore Claire Cavacini for the first Highlands goal. The next two goals came off Rehberger corner kicks. Senior midfielder Faith Broering scored the first one and sophomore Ava Lawhorn scored the second one. Bramble scored the game's final goal off a Lawhorn assist.
Highlands does not play again until traveling to Louisville Assumption on Aug. 21. Game time is 11:30 a.m.
Highlands and Beechwood had four shots each in the boys game. But junior goalkeeper Connor Mathis saved all four for the Bluebirds.
"We weren't able to train (Wednesday) because of the heat. The heat has been an issue lately," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Head Coach. "There are just some things we're not sharp on. It could have been two or three-up. To be fair, Beechwood had some chances, too. Connor didn't have to make too many big saves. But when he was called on, he did his job. It wasn't a bad performance. I hope our guys leave knowing we didn't really show what we're capable of."
The game's lone goal came with 6:21 left in the first half. Junior forward Colin Piper scored it on an assist from junior midfielder Peyton Helminiak.
"It's good to get the first win. But we have a lot to improve on," said Joel Kendall, Highlands senior defender/midfielder. "We just need to keep working together getting used to each other and getting used to the formation so we mesh really well."
Highlands takes on Louisville Ballard at Tower Park on Saturday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
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