Highlands boys soccer team kicks off season with win against BREC

Highlands travelled to Cashiers last week to take on rivals Blue Ridge Early College for the season opener and walked away with the win, 3-2.

Highlands Keeper Ethan Tate doing everything he can to pull the ball in, while Highlands James Earp tries a header to get the ball as far away from the goal as possible.

The Bobcats didn’t go quietly and rallied in the final minutes to score two goals back to back, but couldn’t clinch the win.

BREC Kaleb Fugate passes the ball off against Highlands at home.

Highlands Coach Caleb Brown said it took about 10 minutes to fall into a rhythm, but as soon as the boys strung together a few passes and moved the ball effectively, they were able to create more chances and take some shots on goal.

“Given our lack of many substitutes, the boys certainly were playing hard and tired from all of their great effort,” said Brown. “BREC showed some great determination and was able to score back two goals on us quickly. They cut the goal deficit to one, which did make us a bit nervous, but we were confident that the boys could pull through. Through their determination and will to give it their all they were able to make some great stops and even create a few chances on goal during the final minutes of the game.”

BREC Jacob Pressler and Highlands Jeffrey Olvera both race for the ball.

BREC Coach Nick Pressler said the Bobcats played well for their first outing.

“We possessed the ball the majority of the first half, just couldn’t find the net,” he said. “They never gave up and put two good goals together late.”

BREC Michael Martinez blocks a line-drive pass with his chest.

The first goal of the game was scored by BREC against themselves after a deflection off the keeper. Highlands Jeffrey Olvera scored the second goal, followed by a score by Highlands Win Dyleski.

BREC’s first goal was scored by Jacob Pressler, the second was a header by Korbin Walters with an assist from Pressler. While they had the momentum with them, it wasn’t enough to take the win.

BREC Keeper Gustavo Morales makes a diving save.

“With basketball and soccer going at same time we have not had a full team practice,” said Coach Pressler. “We will get better and I think we can contend well with the other conference teams. Silly mistakes and lack of focus in the first half put us behind on the score.”

Athletes playing multiple sports with overlapping seasons is affecting teams throughout the state, and Brown said he’s proud of the players’ dedication.

Highlands Inman Ahren brings the ball up the field under pressure from BREC Jacob Pressler.

“For a team that has not had a great deal of time practicing together, the players played their positions excellent,” said Brown. “They created chances, moved fast on the ball, and really showed their impressive conditioning by playing a full fast paced 80-minute game without walking or gassing out. I am exceptionally proud at the work ethic these boys have shown to play two sports at the same time and give it their all in every game. I could not be more pleased with their performance on the field and the final result.”

BREC Derrick Bryson keeps the ball moving up the field against Highlands.

Highlands Gig Chalker passes the ball up field as BREC Michael Martinez (#22) closes in.

BREC Alexis Hervert and Highlands Jeffrey Olvera race for the ball in Cashiers last week.

Highlands Danny Lopez gets rid of the ball under pressure from BREC Carsen Williams.

BREC CJ Jennings picks off a Highlands pass and breaks for the goal.

Highlands Brent Sleight makes his way to the goal as BREC Korbin Walters closes in.

Highlands Keeper Ethan Tate stops a scoring attempt by BREC Junior Soriano Diaz.

BREC Jacob Pressler dribbles down the field against Highlands last week.

Highlands James Earp kicks the ball to the outside with BREC CJ Jennings on his heels.

BREC Korbin Walters gets the ball out of the middle of the field with Highlands Brent Sleight closing in.

BREC Derrick Bryson makes his way down the field hassled by Highlands Danny Lopez.

Highlands Win Dyleski dishes the ball off to Danny Lopez.

BREC Gustavo Morales sends the ball down field.

Highlands JJ Postell launches to head the ball at midfield.

BREC Carsen Williams under pressure from Highlands Henry Lopez.

Highlands Lawson Shuler clears the ball out of the danger zone.

BREC CJ Jennings works for position against Highlands James Earp.

Highlands Gig Chalker heads the ball to block a BREC shot on goal.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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