Highlands School boys varsity soccer team tied East Henderson at home on Monday with a final of 2-2. Both of the Highlanders’ goals were made by Luis Torres Zamudio and new Head Coach Caleb Brown said they had a great first game.
“They really did phenomenal,” said Brown. “They were hungry for it right out of the gate. We ended with a draw, but we commanded possession throughout the game and showed Highlands is a team to be reckoned with.”
It was tied 1-1 at the end of the first half and then Highlands put one in the back of the net in the beginning of the second half. With about 7 minutes left, East Henderson slipped one past Highlands goalie Ethan Tate to tie it up.
Brown said Highlands needs to work on 50/50 balls and set pieces.
“These guys train hard and it shows out on the field, they’re giving it everything they got,” said Brown.
East Henderson may have put two on the board, but it could have been a whole lot worse if not for the efforts of Tate who repeatedly dove to make saves throughout the game.
“We did outstanding compared to what I thought we were going to do tonight,” said Tate. “I’m really impressed with our performance.”
Helping keep the pressure off Tate was Highlands Jeffrey Olvera who found himself in the thick of it in the box more often than not, but still said things went well.
“It was a good start to the season since we’ve only been playing about a month,” said Olvera. “To tie a team this good shows potential for the rest of the season.”
Highlands Collin Stoltzfus said there’s work to be done but they hung in there.
“It could have gone better,” said Stoltzfus. “The midfield was getting the ball up the whole game and the defense held the line, but we need to pass more, and pass better.”
Highlands next plays against Smoky Mountain in Sylva at 6 p.m. on Aug. 28.