|Bluebirds Win Fifth Straight Against Thoroughbreds|
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands senior Alexander Foubert (2) goes after the ball in a recent game. Highlands beat Newport Central Catholic, 5-1 Tuesday at Tower Park.|
The Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team (8-0-1 overall, 4-0 9th Region) put four balls in the back of the net in the first 12 minutes. For a team that had given up just two goals all season up to that point, it was more than enough for a 5-1 victory over the 36th District rival Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds (4-2) at Tower Park.
"You never really know how NC squares up defensively so we were very intentional about making sure that we came kind of full steam ahead right from the get go," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Head Coach. "Our first goal wasn't anything pretty. But they all count the same. Sometimes those balls just go in the right direction. It set the tone for the rest of the game. Our guys didn't let up."
Juniors Porter Hedenberg had two goals and an assist to lead the Bluebirds with five points and junior Caymon Stevie added two goals. Hedenberg increased his team-high total to seven assists on the year to go with five goals for a total of a team-high 17 points on the year. Stevie has a team-high seven goals and an assist for 15 points.
"We started slow against Simon Kenton (a 2-0 Highlands win Saturday)," Stevie said. "But after that game, we realized our potential and how that was just a bad game. They're our rivals so that gave us some fire in the back."
Highlands out-shot NewCath, 18-5 including 12-2 on goal. Senior goalkeeper Will Burnham made the team's lone save in the first half and junior Nick Fischer played the second half. Highlands has out-scored opponents, 34-3 on the season.
"We just kept our poise and were able to communicate in the back," said Alexander Foubert, Highlands junior. "We tried to stick together and work as a team to get the job done. We communicated with our teammates and tell them to turn, go down the field or play it back to (the defenders) so we can reset and try to find other options to go down and attack."
The game had its usual physical play. Highlands had nine fouls to five for NewCath. But neither team received a yellow or red card.
"The game was under control throughout, especially because of how the game started," Niedert said. "I think our guys are smart enough to realize that when things are going in our favor, it's only natural when you're up big early, a decision at all isn't necessarily a huge factor so our guys are little bit less irritated or feel like they've been wronged if something gets called against them so we're able to blow it off more. That allows us to relax and focus more on what we can control. That's how we like to handle things. It was easier (Tuesday) than other days."
The Bluebirds scored just two minutes, 37 seconds into the game. Stevie's shot went off a NewCath defender and over the goalkeeper. Hedenberg's first goal then came with 34:53 left in the first half.
But Highlands did not stop. Senior Luke Schweitzer scored his fourth goal of the year with 29:06 left in the first half before Stevie's second goal came on a nice feed from Hedenberg with 28:17 left in the half to give the Bluebirds a 4-0 advantage.
The Thoroughbreds dented the scoreboard with 19:29 left in the half. Junior William Louis put home a rebound to trim the Bluebird lead to 4-1.
"We got a little content after that first goal," Neidert said. "But once they scored, we take so much pride in shut-outs that it made us a little bit nervous. But overall, I think we played really well. We were pretty dominant in the second half. That's all we can ask for at this time of the year."
But Highlands scored its last goal with 33:14 left in the game. Hedenberg took the ball down the left baseline and scored to make the final score.
The Bluebirds have won five in a row in the series. The last NewCath win came 2-1 at Tower Park on Oct. 13, 2015 in the 36th District championship game.
The Bluebirds play at Covington Holmes (1-3) on Thursday. Game time is 7 p.m.
St. Henry 3, Highlands 0:
Highlands (6-2 overall, 2-2 9th Region) dropped three straight to the defending region champion Lady Crusaders (7-4).
Highlands plays host to Walton-Verona (8-3) on Thursday. Game time is 7 p.m.
Golf Match Cancelled:
The Highlands girls were to take on Scott at Highland Country Club. It was cancelled because of a district-wide event for Scott.
The Bluebirds take on Dixie Heights at Pioneer Park in Covington. Tee time is 3:30 p.m.
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