BREC boys soccer team defeats Highlands in epic shootout

Highlands boys varsity soccer team hosted Blue Ridge Early College on Feb. 22 and after double overtime ending with a final of 2-2, penalty kicks, and a sudden death shootout, the Bobcats took the win.

It was a hard-fought game from both sides and BREC was psyched to take the win.

The game was tied 2-2 at the end of regulation. BREC Alexis Hervert scored 2 minutes into the game and BREC Jacob Pressler scored the Bobcats’ second goal with about 2 minutes left on the clock.

BREC Alexis Hervert chases down a ball headed for the sidelines in Highlands.

“Both teams left everything they had out on the field,” said BREC Coach Nick Pressler. “It was intense and exciting to watch the game unfold.”

BREC Jacob Pressler blocks a Highlands pass with his chest.

Nick added that anytime you go to PKs, it’s a nerve-racking situation, especially for BREC freshman Goalie Gustavo Garcia.

BREC Goalie Gustavo Garcia jumps to make a save during penalty kicks against highlands.

“They handled it well having a true freshman keeper and the way he handled it was very impressive, and hopefully a growing moment for him,” said Nick.

The Highlanders scored during regulation with curling shot from Brent Sleight outside of the 18-yard box. The second goal was scored by Gig Chalker who slotted a free kick from outside the box.

Highlands Brent Sleight brings the ball down the field at home against BREC.

“I think both Highlands and Blue Ridge played an excellent and exciting game,” said Brown. “It was a fascinating game to watch and coach from start to finish. It was really action packed and ended up being a nail biter down to the final PK.”

Highlands Gig Chalker makes his way to the goal under attack by BREC CJ Jennings.

When it boiled down to PKs, Highlands had senior Ethan Tate in goal and Brown was feeling good about it.

Highlands Ethan Tate jumps to stop a BREC PK.

“We went into the shootout feeling confident,” said Brown. “We have a great goalkeeper in Ethan Tate, and we were confident that he would stop a few of the PKs, which he did (blocked two of them in the first set of 5 PKs.) Ultimately, we lost the match not because BR scored PKs, but more so that we missed our PKs. I want the boys to know that missing a PK simply is what it is. A PK shootout is a great deal of pressure to put on a high school player and they should be proud of their performance in the game.”

From left are Highlands JJ Postell and Lane Tingen jumping to head the ball.

Brown added that everyone gave it their all.

“The Highlands Highlanders should hold their head high and keep moving forward through conference play,” he said. “I’m proud of these young men and all the effort they have put into their game so far. Congratulations to Blue Ridge in their victory.”

BREC Kaleb Fugate sprints for the ball against Highlands.

Nick said nail-biter shootouts can happen anytime you play Highlands.

“Playing against Highlands is always crazy,” said Nick. “I am just glad our seniors were able to walk off the field with a win.”

Highlands JJ Postell moving with the ball with BREC Junior Diaz on his heels.

From left are Highlands Lane Tingen, BREC Derrick Bryson, and BREC Michael Martinez racing for the ball.

BREC CJ Jennings sends the ball down field with pressure from Highlands Henry Lopez.

Highlands Lawson Shuler heads the ball against BREC.

BREC Korbin Walters senses pressure behind him.

BREC CJ Jennings stakes a shot with Highlands Ethan Tate in the goal.

Highlands James Earp throws the ball in against BREC.

BREC Devin Bryson moves to stop Highlands Lane Tingen from scoring.

Highlands JJ Postell psychs up the crowd after putting one in the back of the net during the PK portion of the game.

From left are BREC Korbin Walters and CJ Jennings sprinting toward Highlands’ goal.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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