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Friday, August 20, 2021

Highlands Volleyball Wins Second Straight

Bluebirds Pull off Region Win

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Madison Clore sets up to serve in a recent game.

The Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team came away 2-1 playing three straight days to open the season.

Similar to the win at Campbell County on Wednesday, Highlands bested the Beechwood Tigers (1-1) by a 3-2 score (18-25, 25-20, 20-25, 25-17, 15-9). The Bluebirds are 1-1 in 9th Region action.

"They really just endured and kept the intensity up to the end, which is what you have to do against a really good team," said Katelyn Sallee, Highlands Head Coach. "I'm proud of them. We had a lot of offensive production at all areas of the court. It was pretty fun to watch even though it took too long."

The Bluebirds had 51 kills, 51 assists, eight solo blocks, 100 digs and eight aces. Senior Sophia Sarakatsannis had another good all-around game with 12 kills, 23 digs and two aces. Senior CC Shick led Highlands with 19 kills and three solo blocks to go with 10 digs and one assist.

Highlands senior Lauren Buemi followed with seven kills, three blocks, three digs and three aces. Seniors Avery Cavacini and Nicole Ossege had six kills each.

"I think that having the motivation there helps us work harder obviously," Buemi said. "We all love each other and we play as a team so whatever happens, happens. It's definitely a roller coaster I'd say. But for us to get into a rhythm, we just have to keep our energy high and not get down. Our thing this year is to have a mind of a goldfish. You can think about it for one second then you forget about it. That helps us."

Senior Madison Clore led Highlands with 24 digs to go with two assists. Senior Honor Valentine had 15 digs and three aces.

Junior setter Kenzi Vennefron led Highlands with 35 assists to go with 14 digs. Senior setter Madison Opitz had 13 assists.

"We still had to make some changes on some things," Sallee said. "I don't think anything is permanent this year. It may be one of those years where we have a lot of people who can do a lot of things. I'm doing (carrying a huge roster) because we're losing a lot and need people ready for next year. The beauty in that is we have a lot of people who can step in if we're struggling. That happened (Thursday). Kenzi Vennefron stepped in for us and did a nice job. All of our middles did an incredible job as well. Really, even our outsides did, too. It was a complete team effort. Serve receive and defense was better."

Highlands lists 16 as dressing on varsity an eighth grader in Hayden Gessner. Gessner, the younger sister of 2019 Highlands alum and former volleyball player Olivia Gessner and cousin of Highlands girls soccer senior goalkeeper Meg Gessner, saw action in one game against Campbell County and in two against Beechwood recording two digs. Hayden Gessner is the first eighth grader in Sallee's eight seasons to see varsity action.

The Bluebirds do not play again until Tuesday at Bishop Brossart (1-0). Game time is 6 p.m.

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