Highlands varsity girls soccer team made school history by going undefeated throughout the regular season after defeating Murphy on April 28 at home with a final of 3-1.
Highlands earned first place in the Smoky Mountain 1-A Conference after beating Swain the week before on April 22. Highlands Athletic Director Brett Lamb said going undefeated is a first for Highlands School in any sport.
“Last girls soccer championship was in 2007,” said Lamb. “And to my knowledge, we have never had an undefeated regular season.”
Highlands Coach Caleb Brown said he didn’t know what to expect when the season began, but the girls worked hard and it showed on the field.
“I had no idea what was going to happen and then they came out and crushed it all season,” he said. “They grew closer as a team, gave it their all, and made it work. I’m very proud of them.”
The Lady Highlanders say goodbye to seniors Alyson Dayton, Madi Drummonds, and Anne Marie Moore this year and Brown said they will be missed.
“They were definitely the biggest leaders on the team,” said Brown. “Always the first to practice and stayed late. They mentored some of the younger players both on and off the field, and they helped make it fun and enjoyable to play soccer.”
Moore said that ending her high school soccer career as undefeated season champions is a good way to finish things.
“It feels amazing to be part of a team to accomplish something that hasn’t been done in a long time,” said Moore. “I’m going to miss the girls and I know they’ll do great next year.”
Highlands Goalie Alyson Dayton said they played the best they could against Lincoln and is proud the Lady Highlanders went undefeated.
“I had a good feeling from the start,” she said. “We’re pretty good and I’m not surprised.”
Highlands Reese Schmidt spent much of the season on a fast break towards the opposing team’s goal and said she thought they played well this season and one of the reasons is because they are so close off the field as well. She added that she hopes to come back even stronger next year.
“Next season we’re looking pretty strong,” said Schmidt. “We’re losing some good players, but we’ve got a lot of good players coming back.”
Highlands Addie Westendorf said she’s proud of their performance this season.
“I’m very happy with our team,” said Westendorf. “We played hard and overall we did good. A small town like ours going undefeated doesn’t happen often.”