Highlands varsity soccer team loses to Smoky Mountain on the road

Highlands varsity soccer team hopped the bus to Sylva to take on Smoky Mountain on Wednesday that ended in a 4-2 loss for the Highlanders.

Highlands Dillon Schmitt (middle) gets snagged in the back of the net against Smoky Mountain on Wednesday. Schmitt got tangled after sliding and blocking a shot on goal.

Head Coach Caleb Brown said the mindset of playing against a larger school like Smoky Mountain is the same they bring to every game.

“We are always playing to compete, and we leave everything we have out on the field,” said Brown. “Our players do not complain about calls, fouls, or anything of that sort. They are quality young men who are focused on bettering their game.  We are not afraid to play our opponents and we truly as a team embrace a challenge.”

Highlands Nathan Keener launches for a header against Smoky Mountain.

He added that Smoky Mountain had some players with good touch on the ball, they moved quickly, and were able to play some over the top balls that exposed the gaps in Highlands’ defense.

“I want to highlight the whole team for having an exceptional second half,” said Brown. “We got off to a slow start, but in the second half we put massive pressure on the ball and started to show that we remembered and embraced our training. Had a couple of our second-half shots gone our way we could have closed the gap. In the end we got too large of a deficit to make up in the limited amount of time that we had.”

Highlands Conor Thorske controls the pass and moves the ball up the field.

Brown said the players work hard on and off the field, but they couldn’t be at the level they are without the help of Assistant Coach Selwyn Chalker.

“Both on and off the pitch he is an absolute class act who has been integral in the team’s success so far,” said Brown. “He is an excellent mentor and role model for these young men as they mature both on the soccer field and in the classroom.”

The Highlanders next play at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 5 away against Tallulah Falls.

Highlands defensive line scrambles for a loose ball in front of their goal.

Highlands Bill Miller slides for the steal against Smoky Mountain on Wednesday.

Highlands Ethan Tate makes a wicked save against Smoky Mountain on Wednesday.

Highlands Colin Stoltzfus has no intention of dodging Smoky Mountain’s shot on goal.

Highlands Dillon Schmitt ensures he’s getting this header.

Highlands Lane Tingen makes his way back to position after scoring a goal that was hard-earned. Editor’s Note: His goal was messy, it was not graceful, it was physically pretty brutal; and Tingen never gave up. It was awesome.

Highlands Jeffery Olvera makes his way around a Smoky Mountain player on Wednesday.

Article and Photos by Brian O’Shea
plateaudailynews@gm ail.com
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