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.
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.
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 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.”
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.
“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.
“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.”