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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tuesday Highlands Sports Notes

More Victories for Highlands Soccer, Volleyball

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Mike Penrod makes a move against Cooper on Tuesday. Highlands won 2-0.
The Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team has only needed one goal to win games so far this season.

They've consistently made teams defend them and it has led to four shutouts to start the season. Highlands moved to 3-0-1 overall with a 2-0 victory over the Cooper Jaguars (2-2) at Tower Park on Tuesday. The Bluebirds are 2-0 in 9th Region action. They've outscored opponents, 11-0 on the season.

Highlands out-shot Cooper, 15-4 including 7-1 on goal. Senior Will Burnham made his return to goalkeeper and made the lone save for the Bluebirds in the first half. Junior Nick Fischer played in the second half.

"(Cooper) will give some teams some trouble," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Head Coach. "My concern going into the game is that we were going to be a little bit overconfident because we had a strong showing in Lexington. Not to downplay Cooper, but they're probably not in the same tier as (Lexington) Dunbar and Henry Clay. We wanted to make sure everyone was prepared. They're definitely good enough to sneak up on us. Fortunately, they didn't. But they had their moments where they scared us."

Senior forward/midfielder Porter Hedenberg scored his first goal of the season with 12 minutes left in the first half. Sophomore forward/midfielder Max Farris had his second assist on the play. Farris leads the team with three goals and two assists for a total of eight points.

Senior forward Cary Gorrigan scored his first goal of the season in the second half. Senior forward/midfielder Carter Holmes recorded his first assist of the year on that play.

"It's really hard to defend a team who has speed, height the ability to play possession (soccer)," said Luke Schweitzer, Highlands 6-foot-4-inch forward. "We don't play as much possession because we have a lot of height so we like to play it forward and get a head or flick on it. It seems to be working."

Highlands plays host to the Oldham County Colonels on Thursday. Game time is 8 p.m. at Tower Park.

Highlands 3, Scott 0:

The Bluebirds stayed undefeated at 4-0 with their third win over a 37th District opponent. The scores were 25-17, 25-18, 25-15. The Highlands junior varsity and freshmen teams also beat Scott.

Highlands had lost seven straight to Scott dating back to Sept. 1, 2012 when Highlands beat Scott, 2-0 (25-21, 25-23) in the September Slam. Scott (1-8), the four-time defending 10th Region champions, has lost eight in a row. The Lady Eagles graduated three seniors off last year's team.

Highlands had to make some line-up adjustments. Junior Casey Dunn and freshman CC Shick were not available for the game. Freshman Sophia Sarakatsannis and sophomore Addie Bracken moved up to varsity for the game and Sarakatsannis saw action.

"We had a pretty good practice (Monday) just preparing, trying to figure our line-up under these circumstances," said Katelyn Sallee, Highlands Head Coach. "Thankfully, we had a practice to work through the kinks. We're pretty deep this year. I feel that even some of our young, greener players have a lot of talent and they're learning the things pretty quickly so we're just kind of taking this as an opportunity to train them a little sooner. Our upperclassmen really carried us. It's a matter of getting the younger players the confidence and the reps. I think we'll get there."

The four returning starters from last year's 25-win team did their thing. Junior middle blocker Ava Hockney led the way with 10 kills and three blocks with senior outside hitter Margot Seidel recording seven kills and junior setter Audrey Graves recording four kills. Senior libero Olivia Gessner had a team-high seven digs.

"We just had a pep talk before the game," Seidel said. "We were like, 'Regardless of the line-ups we're faced with (Tuesday), regardless of the other team on the other side of the net, we have to play our best game.' We just didn't want anyone making excuses because of the situation we are in and we didn't want people playing down to (Scott's) level for sure. I think there were a lot of nerves because there were a lot of new faces on the court, but they all did really well and stayed level-headed and I think we played really well."

Highlands plays host to Kings (Ohio) on Thursday. Game time is 5:30 p.m.

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