Story Matters

Story Matters

THE Official HHS Football Site

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Highlands Monday Results

Highlands Soccer Teams Record Wins

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior midfielder Lucy New (22) gets in position in the 6-3 Highlands win over St. Henry on Monday.

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The Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team (15-3-1 overall) helped Head Coach Chad Niedert to his 100th career coaching win with a 4-0 road victory at Cincinnati (Ohio) Winton Woods.

Niedert is in his fifth season at Highlands as the head coach and seventh overall after serving as an assistant in 2015 and 2016. The Bluebirds are 80-22-10 during Niedert's tenure as head coach. 

Niedert led North Oldham to a 20-5-1 mark in 2013. Highlands has won the 36th District Tournament title five straight years and won the 9th Region title in 2018 and 2019 finishing state runner-up in 2018.

Highlands outshot the Warriors (4-5-1) of the Eastern Cincinnati Conference, 17-4 on goal. Sophomore goalkeeper Jack Wilson stopped all four Winton Woods shots for the Bluebirds.

"(Winton Woods) came recommended to us from some of our colleagues over there in Ohio," Niedert said. "It was a different kind of game. It was definitely quite physical. They were a very athletic team. We have to learn how to play against really talented players that are different kinds of contributors. I think we did a good job."

The Bluebirds built a 3-0 halftime lead. Senior Jordan Frisk had two goals with junior Caden Schroeder scoring the other one and junior Colin Pieper tallying the assist. Frisk has 14 goals and a team-high nine assists on the season for a team-high 37 points. Schroeder has eight goals and Pieper has eight assists. Pieper has a team-high 38 points.

The Bluebirds added one goal in the second half. Junior Dash Macke passed the ball from the right side and sophomore Tyler Whitney played it in at the far left post. That is Macke's second assist of the season and Whitney's first goal.

"It actually felt amazing to be able to help one of my teammates find a shot in that spotlight," Macke said. "To see my friends celebrate after that goal is an accomplishment in and of itself. We have been playing phenomenal lately."

Highlands travels to Cincinnati (Ohio) Wyoming (8-1-1) of the Cincinnati Hills League on Thursday. Game time is 7 p.m.

Soccer, Girls:
Highlands 6, St. Henry 3:

Highlands (10-4 overall) celebrated Senior Night with a 9th Region win over the Crusaders (2-10-3). But the Bluebirds had to pull away with three goals in the game's final 18 minutes to do it.

"It was fantastic. (The seniors) got some playing time," said Chris Norris, Highlands Head Coach. "In the second half, we knew we had to move the ball a little bit faster. It worked out. I think it created a little bit more opportunities for us to get better scoring opportunities so when we were taking our shots, we'd be able to be on frame without having to get by four defenders. I think the girls' mental toughness has improved all season. I think it showed when they got down by a goal. It showed they could fight back."

The Bluebirds have 10 seniors in Meg Gessner, Hailey Parks, Faith Broering, Jade Rehberger, Chloe Bramble, Lucy New, Hailey Barton, Julia Heck, Macy Hedenberg and Lindsay Thompson. New, Thompson and junior Ruby Smith returned to soccer this year for the first time since middle school and are still members of the Highlands Dance Team.

"It was awesome," New said. "The team just has great chemistry. I got lots of minutes. I almost got a goal in there a couple times. But it was great to just be with the team. They're all so supportive and it's just the best team that I could ask for."

St. Henry battled the hosts despite Highlands outshooting the Crusaders, 22-9. Gessner had to make some tough saves in the second half finishing with five and Parks had one. That includes fighting off defenders in the box.

"We just had to work together as a unit always communicating with each other, connecting passes first, looking to go forward and never giving up balls," Gessner said. "It was great. You just have to have the mentality to go into it and always know you're going to get the ball."

Broering scored two goals in the first half for the Bluebirds and added an assist in the second half. She has eight goals and four assists on the season for 20 points.

Highlands took the lead again when Rehberger hit a penalty kick for her third goal of the season. The Bluebirds held the 3-2 lead momentarily as St. Henry quicly tied the game.

"We've rotated two freshmen, a sophomore through our defense trying to figure out what's going to be the right mix," Norris said. "I think losing (junior) Bianca Hemsath hurt us at least on the experience level. I think about that time Macy Hedenberg came back and that's really helped our center backs. That gives us a little bit more time on the outside. It's been a season-long project. I think they've done a fantastic job coming together both mentally and physically out on the field. Giving up three goals was a bit of a bummer. But I think maybe the Senior Night and some nerves of new players starting in some positions may have led to some miscommunications and some easy opportunities for St. Henry."

Sophomore forward Laney Smith had the next two goals. The first one came off a corner from Broering and the second one came on a 20-yard shot off a pass from senior forward Chloe Bramble. Bramble then scored on an assist from sophomore forward Lindsay Stein with seven minutes left in the game when the ball fell through the St. Henry goalkeeper's hands.

"That's something we've been working on all season - following the ball as soon as the ball is hit," Norris said. "I think they finally learned why we do it. It bounced our way and gave us an opportunity to score another goal."

Highlands plays host to Simon Kenton (7-9-1) on Wednesday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Golf, Girls:
8th Region Results:

Senior KJ Toole is headed back to the state tournament for the third year in a row for Highlands. She qualified for state finishing fourth in the 8th Region Tournament shooting an 85.

"I'm obviously excited to give myself another shot at (state)," Toole said. "That always feels good. I have a mix of emotions (Monday). My game was not bad. But it wasn't great so I definitely have some things to practice and get in line."

The Bluebirds finished third overall in the 14-team tournament played at Pendleton Hills Country Club in Butler shooting a 420 equaling the 2019 team for the highest finish in region tournament action since Head Coach Mike Lipscomb took over the program in 2018. Owen County won the tournament shooting 348 and Grant County took second shooting 388.

"I really think we started to peek at the end of the year at the right time," Lipscomb said. "Our girls played a very difficult course. The greens were extremely fast. They had some very tough holes where you have to place the ball more. I would say the girls did a very good job of not losing their heads. They kept their focus throughout even though they weren't having their best days."

None of the other four golfers shot below 100. Senior Helen Halbauer shot her personal best. The other three golfers that participated in the tournament return next year in junior Aly Welch, sophomore Bailey Markus and freshman Jenna Richey. The team won the Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference Division II crown last week.

The girls state golf tournament takes place Oct. 4 through 6 at the Bowling Green Country Club. Toole qualified for the second day of the tournament last year shooting an 84 on the par-72 course and 88 on the second day for a two-day total of 172 good for 58th. Toole hopes to go out improving on those scores.

"My putting was looking really solid so I'm hoping to keep up some good putting," Toole said. "I did well with my drives off the tee. I'm just looking really hit those greens on my approach shots. That's a big thing."

Highlands last qualified for state as a team in 2006 as the 6th Region runner-up. The team did not make the second day of the tournament. But Kelly Borman-DiCiero qualified for the second day individually.

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