The Highland soccer Bulldogs sandwiched a pair of wins around a tough loss to Triad. All three games were played on the Bulldogs’ home field at Glik Park.
First on Tuesday, Sept. 26, Highland bombarded the back of visiting Civic Memorial’s net in a 6-0 victory. The victory was Highland’s third in a row and ran its unbeaten streak to four games.
Two days later on Thursday, Triad made the short trip to Glik Park and edged out the host Bulldogs 1-0.
Then on Saturday, Highland pulled out a 1-0 win over visiting Granite City.
The Bulldogs, whose overall record moved to 7-9-1 while their Mississippi Valley Conference mark is 3-4, traveled to Jerseyville on Tuesday before playing host to Waterloo on Thursday.
In the win over Granite City, senior Drake Gehrs scored the game’s only goal. It was his second of the season while junior goalkeeper Riley Field notched his fourth shutout of the year.
In the loss to Triad, the Knights got the better of the play throughout the game and Jaden Deatherage scored the lone goal in the 12th minute on a beautiful leaping header in front of the far post off a crisp pass from Zach Kraabel.
Reiss Naylor only had to make four saves to earn the shutout for Triad.
Field made several key saves to keep the Bulldogs in the game.
HHS 6, Civic Memorial 0
After getting the better of the play and leading 1-0 at halftime, Highland ratcheted up the intensity and pumped in five goals after halftime to fly by the visiting Eagles 6-0 Tuesday, Sept. 26 at Glik Park.
“In the first half we did have our chances but I still wasn’t happy with our play because we were a little slow and a little lethargic and weren’t getting back on our assignments on defense,” said Highland coach Josh Oswald. “We talked at halftime and I think they got the message as they came out and put five in the back of the net. We were totally dominant.”
Juniors Bryce Smith and Nick Sikora each tallied two goals apiece. Smith was credited with the game winner.
Also for the Bulldogs, senior Evan Herman added one goal and one assist, senior Andrew Roach dished out two assists, freshman Justin Loeh scored his first varsity goal, senior Drake Gehrs and sophomore Austin Roach each added one assist, and junior goalkeeper Riley Field had three saves to earn back-to-back shutouts and third overall of the season.
The Bulldogs hope to continue their winning ways when they play host to Triad at 4:15p.m. Thursday and Granite City at 10 a.m. Saturday.
“We’re unbeaten in our last four now so we’re starting to string some stuff together at the right part of the season, but we’ve still got a long ways to go,” Oswald said. “We’ve got seven games left before the postseason and we’ve got a big one Thursday against Triad. We definitely have improved...The boys are playing well, they’re working hard and I think everybody has kind of settled down as they know their roles and starting to gel a little bit.”
Smith notched the only goal the Bulldogs really needed with an unassisted effort with 24 minutes, 17 seconds left in the first half.
Highland had a few chances to extend the lead, including a a couple of golden opportunities by Sikora, who hit the goal post on one of them. However, the score remained 1-0 until after halftime.
The Bulldogs did not waste much time at all to increase their lead after the break and then the floodgates opened.
Only 2:14 into the second half, Sikora took out his frustration on not burying a goal earlier as he took a feed from Herman and drilled a rocket blast from about 30 yards out to the back of CM’s net.
Just 4:07 later, Andrew Roach sent Herman in on a partial break between two Eagle defenders and dribbled just inside the box before left footing it past the keeper for his team-leading 10th goal to make it 3-0.
With 24:54 remaining, Roach made a nice feed to put Sikora in a good place and he dribbled by the defense and tapped it in for his fourth marker. It was Roach’s seventh assist of the year.
Smith scored his second goal of the game and fourth overall with 16:58 to play off a nice cross from Austin Roach to bury the Eagles in a 5-0 hole.
Highland then got some productive minutes out of freshmen Josh Joeh, Nate Houck and Brandon Canterberry. On a corner kick, Loeh tallied his first varsity goal off an assist from Gehrs with 7:09 to light up the scoreboard the final time. It was Gehrs’ team-high eighth helper of the season.