Highlands Middle School soccer team closes out season with win over Blue Ridge

Highlands Middle School soccer team’s fate in the conference is out of their hands as they won their final game versus Blue Ridge 5-1 on Tuesday.

“Today we did wonderful and we remembered why playing soccer is fun again,” said Highlands Head Coach Bryan Dearth. “We started out the season great, then we tanked for a while, so this is a great way to end the season.”

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Highlands Nathan Keener tries to maintain control of the ball when Highlands Middle School soccer team played Blue Ridge on Tuesday.

Highlands 6th-grader Raquel Stiles said this was the best game they have played this year.

“I think it’s mainly because we worked as a team,” said Stiles. “And it feels good because we lost to them (Blue Ridge) the first time.”

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Blue Ridge had plenty of chances to score but could not finish Highlands for the win.

Highlands 6th-grader Finneaus Garner agreed with Stiles that it was the best game they have played this year, it also happens to be his 12th birthday.

“We started out this season really good, then we got really bad,” said Garner. “But it’s good to end on top. I’m really happy to be part of this team.”

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Blue Ridge Jesse Jones passes two defenders playing against Highlands on Tuesday.

Blue Ridge 8th-grader Jesse Jones said they could not get in sync with each other throughout the game.

“We were off a little bit,” said Jones. “We needed to communicate more and a lot more hustle. It was bad.”

Blue Ridge 7th-grader Levi Walters said they needed to make smarter plays and have more contact with the ball, but Highlands made that difficult.

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Highlands Landon Green chests the ball playing against Blue Ridge on Tuesday.

“They have a lot of speed and aggression,” said Walters. “It was a very physical game.”

Blue Ridge 8th-grader Mercedes McLaughlin summed up her performance as “horrible.”

“It was awful, we needed to take better shots, better passes and have more communication,” said McLaughlin. “We just played really bad.”

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Highlands Conor Thorske tries to take the ball away from Blue Ridge.

Blue Ridge next plays Smokey Mountain at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at Blue Ridge School. Blue Ridge Head Coach Cristian Mireles said his team played well on Tuesday after playing back to back games this week and is prepared to play Smokey Mountain tonight.

“They (Smokey Mountain) are going to bring people that can score,” said Mireles. “We have to have our best defense to get the ball up to the forwards to get it into the net.”

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Blue Ridge’s offense kept up consistent pressure against highlands but couldn’t put points on the board.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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