In the first two minutes, the ball found its way to Highlands senior standout forward Lindsey Meyer in the box. The Northern Kentucky University commit put it home for the only goal the Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team needed to beat the visiting Boone County Lady Rebels in the 9th Region Quarterfinals at Tower Park on Monday.
But the record-setting Meyer and company did not stop there. Meyer recorded a hat track of three goals and an assist as the Bluebirds (18-4) recorded a sound 4-0 win over the Lady Rebels (15-5-2). The teams were supposed to meet in Florence during the regular season. But the Boone County administration cancelled the game.
"Jumping out from the start and getting a goal in the first five minutes was exactly what we wanted to do," said Alex Dean, Highlands Head Coach. "Getting a goal in takes the pressure off us a bit more and it puts more pressure on them, which is kind of what we wanted to do. They kind of had nothing to lose. It was a great way to start."
Meyer has 24 goals and 11 assists on the season for 59 points. Her assist gave her the school record for career assists with 40. She already owned the school records for goals and points. Meyer's new totals are 72 goals and 182 career points.
Her second goal came with 3:49 left in the first half to put Highlands up 2-0 and the third one came with 37:34 left in the second half. Sophomore Greta Noble assisted the second goal and freshman Chloe Bramble assisted the third one.
"Once you get the ball at your feet, you see (teammates) making these great runs," Noble said. "Getting it to them is just the way to go. They can always put it in the back of the net."
Meyer then assisted junior Maria Wiefering's goal with 29:54 left in the game. Wiefering has 16 goals and eight assists for 40 points this year.
Former Highlands assistant Stephanie Sandfoss-Graves held the scoring records for a long time. Graves scored 64 goals and recorded 39 assists for 167 points in her career.
"She is a beast and so fun to watch," Graves said. "Congrats Linds. Now let's win state."
Highlands wound up out-shooting Boone County, 16-4 including 11-2 on goal. Highlands goalkeepers Maggie Hinegardner, Rylee Thomas and freshman Megan Gessner saw action. Thomas and Gessner made one save each. Boone County sophomore goalkeeper Morgan Daniels made seven saves.
"Adjusting on the fly is very difficult," Dean said. "We didn't know going in what they were going to do. We adjusted pretty well at halftime."
Highlands subbed in the reserves after the fourth goal. Players such as junior Natalie Ossege saw action.
"I think a lot of help comes from the girls," Ossege said. "They're always supportive when I step out on the field, especially the seniors. They always say, 'You got this' or 'Get the next ball' if you mess up. It helps me a lot to get the nerves out when I step on the field."
Highlands takes on St. Henry (13-3-1) in the 9th Region Semifinals at Ryle on Wednesday. Game time is 5:30 p.m.
Dixie Heights ends Highlands Season:
Highlands finished 25-11 for the second straight year losing 3-0 (28-26, 25-17, 25-22) to Dixie Heights (24-6) in the 9th Region quarterfinals at Dayton. Highlands had defeated Dixie Heights in the same round at Holmes last year.
A tough night hitting hurt the Bluebirds. Highlands put away 32-of-102 attempts but made 21 errors for a .108 percentage. Highlands freshman CC Shick led the way with 12 kills and senior Margot Seidel had 10. Seidel also had one ace and eight digs.
In her final game, senior libero Olivia Gessner added eight digs and three aces. Junior setter Audrey Graves had 30 assists with junior middle blocker Ava Hockney recording two solo blocks, eight kills and an ace.
Highlands graduates Gessner and Seidel but returns four starters including junior outside hitter Casey Dunn. The likes of junior defensive specialists Rylee Kirschenbaum and Brooke Biltz also return along with sophomore setter/outside hitter Laura Winkler. Freshmen Sophia Sarakatsannis and Madison Clore also return after seeing some varsity action this year.
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