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.
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.
“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.”
Nick added that anytime you go to PKs, it’s a nerve-racking situation, especially for BREC freshman Goalie Gustavo Garcia.
“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.
“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.”
When it boiled down to PKs, Highlands had senior Ethan Tate in goal and Brown was feeling good about it.
“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.”
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.”
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.”