|Bluebirds Shut Out Camels|
|PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior forward/midfielder Ashton Foley (22) pursues the ball in the 5-0 win over Campbell County on Thursday.|
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The Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team once again made sure the visiting Campbell County Camels did not sneak up and sneak out with a victory.
The Bluebirds (11-3-1 overall) shut out the county rival Camels (5-7-1), 5-0 at Tower Park for their sixth shutout of the season. Highlands and Campbell County did not play each other last year. But the Bluebirds have outscored the Camels, 15-0 in those three meetings since Campbell County beat Highlands, 1-0 on Aug. 29, 2017 at Tower Park in Chad Niedert's first season as head coach of the Bluebirds.
"We've always got a little bit of an axe to grind with them," Niedert said. "We always like to get out and get after them. We thought we played pretty well. We had 23 different guys play. So to dominate the game with possession offensively and defensively and still get a shutout out of it speaks to the type of guys we have here playing and contributing right now, but also the potential we have moving forward."
Junior forward Colin Pieper led the way with a hat trick of three goals and an assist for seven points. Pieper has a team-high 13 goals and five assists on the season for 31 points.
Pieper had an assist on the first goal playing a through ball to senior forward/midfielder Jordan Frisk for Frisk's ninth goal of the season. The Bluebirds never looked back leading 2-0 at halftime after Pieper scored on a free kick from senior defender/midfielder Joel Kendall. That marked Kendall's sixth assist of the season.
"We set goals at the beginning of every game," said Thomas Gray-Torsell, Highlands senior defender. "We want to dominate the first few minutes. If you dominate the first few minutes, it's usually a roll from there to victory. We try not to dwell on the team record or anything. We try to start every game like it's the best team we'll play."
Junior midfielder Caden Schroeder assisted Pieper's second goal for his third assist on the season. Frisk added his team-high seventh assist on the season on Pieper's third goal.
Sophomore forward/midfielder Chad Gesenhues assisted junior midfielder Peyton Helminiak's first goal of the season to make the final score. That is Gesenhues' third assist of the year.
"It was a struggle at first. But we're getting better play up top with Colin and others connecting every (pass)," said Wyatt Thompson, Highlands senior forward. "We're getting better every game with trying to get everyone to score a goal."
Highlands had 29 shots with 16 on goal with seven shots on goal for Campbell County. Junior goalkeeper Connor Mathis had three saves and sophomore goalkeeper Jack Wilson had four.
The Bluebirds had three offsides calls, 11 fouls and six corner kicks. But Highlands did not have any yellow or red cards.
Highlands plays host to the Lexington Lafayette General (8-2-2) on Saturday. Game time is 7 p.m.
St. Henry 3, Highlands 0:
The home crowd tried to push the Bluebirds (17-4 overall) to a potential monumental victory. But the Crusaders (17-5) proved too much to handle as St. Henry left with a 25-13, 25-13, 25-15 victory.
Highlands put in a tall line-up in the front row trying to counter the talented St. Henry front line including seniors CC Shick, Sophia Sarakatsannis and junior Carly Cramer. The Bluebirds recorded 29 assists and kills with Shick leading the way with 11 and Sarakatsannis had six.
The Bluebirds landed one solo block from senior Lauren Buemi. Buemi had eight kills. Highlands saw senior setter Madison Opitz record 14 assists and junior setter Kenzi Vennefron had 12.
Highlands dug up 41 balls. Senior Honor Valentine led the way with 12 and senior Madison Clore had nine. The Bluebirds landed no aces.
The Bluebirds take on Ryle on Tuesday. Game time is 7 p.m.
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