|Highlands Earns Huge Win over Lexington Catholic|
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands freshman forward Chloe Bramble boots the ball in a recent game. The Bluebirds beat Lexington Catholic, 1-0 to end the regular season.|
The Highlands Bluebirds (15-4 overall) saw a preview of such a game to finish the regular season against the Lexington Catholic (11-5-2). Sophomore Greta Noble put one in for the Bluebirds with 28:22 left in the first quarter and Highlands made it stand in a 1-0 non-region victory.
That marked the third goal of the season for Noble and an assist from sophomore Maggie Stieby. She also has seven assists this year for 13 points tied for fourth on the team with junior forward Maria Broering. That also marked Stieby's first assist this year.
"(This) was definitely a gutsy win and that's the kind of stuff you need right before the postseason," said Alex Dean, Highlands Head Coach. "Moving forward from that is just showing that those are the games that we're going to be in. Every team is hungry for the state title. We have to be just as hungry. We have to understand the regular season is over. It's down to the nitty gritty."
Highlands had 17 shots including nine on goal to five shots including four on goal for LexCath. Highlands junior goalkeeper Maggie Hinegardner made four saves. But the Bluebirds did a great job clearing balls.
"The (defenders) have been doing a great job all year," Dean said. "They've had some mistakes that led goals. But it was a great effort and great communication by everybody (Monday). If anybody was left open, we had somebody telling them to mark or change up and make sure everyone was covered."
The 2005 and 2006 state championship Highlands teams both had to win three consecutive 1-0 games in the postseason on their way to the crowns. Allie Nehus-Hanson, the older sister of sophomore Kenzie Nehus, played defender on the 2005 state championship team and Amber Barth-Wells, the older sister of freshman forward Chloe Bramble, played on both teams. Bramble moved up to the varsity level a few weeks ago.
"I've been working really hard to try to get pushed up," Bramble said. "It was actually a surprise to me, but the team has been working extra hard. The transition has been really easy. All the girls are so sweet, nice and really accepting. We have to leave it all on the field."
Highlands senior Lindsey Meyer was not able to add onto her school-record for goals and points in a career with 68 goals and 174 points. Meyer is one assist from tying former Highlands player and assistant Stephanie Sandfoss-Graves' 39 career assists. Meyer had a nice shot to the left post that the LexCath goalkeeper stopped.
"It's mostly been (about) team goals, but I owe a lot of it to my teammates and prior coaches," Meyer said. "Obviously, Stephanie Graves is a big role model for me. She has helped me along the way the whole season. That was a great win to finish the season off. It's just about how bad you want it."
Top-seeded Highlands takes on either fourth-seeded Bellevue or fifth-seeded Newport in the 36th District semifinals at Morscher Field on Oct. 9 at 5:15 p.m. The championship is Thursday, Oct. 11 at 5:15 p.m.
Highlands 2, Covington Holmes 0:
The Bluebirds (22-9 overall, 11-4 9th Region) took care of business quickly on the road against the 2-20 Lady Bulldogs by 25-5, 25-15 scores.
"I think coming off a weekend where we felt like we weren't controlling the tone, the emotion of the game at certain times. We had the final match of the weekend where we did that well," said Katelyn Sallee, Highlands Head Coach. "We came into this match saying, 'Hey. We're going to to continue that.' It was good to see them take care of business. So much of volleyball is emotion and momentum. The more we can learn to control that, the better the team will be."
Highlands junior Ava Hockney had nine kills and three aces and senior Margot Seidel had nine kills and four digs. Junior Brooke Biltz had six digs and freshman CC Shick had six kills and two solo blocks. Junior setter Audrey Graves had 29 assists.
"All the upperclassmen were like, 'Hey. We still need to play like we play at our level," Shick said. "We make sure that we don't play down to their level. We still have to play how we are no matter how well we're doing. We focused on our passes and made sure we could finish the ball and not expect that we were just going to get an easy point anytime."
Highlands finishes off 36th District play against Bellevue on Senior Night. Game time is 7 p.m.
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