Huskies get back on the field, show improvement in loss

By Jeff Yoder
Posted 4/7/21

On Thursday, the Highland Huskies played a soccer game for the first time since May 20, 2019. 

The second half did not go the Huskies’ way in a 9-1 loss to Washington, but coach Dylan …

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Huskies get back on the field, show improvement in loss

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On Thursday, the Highland Huskies played a soccer game for the first time since May 20, 2019. 

The second half did not go the Huskies’ way in a 9-1 loss to Washington, but coach Dylan Stewart saw some bright spots and things to build on moving forward. 

“I think for the first game in two years we played really good at times,” he said.

“Jacob Allen was my man of the match for us. His effort and energy were unbelievable the whole match. Ramses Vergara played excellent in the midfield. A great leader for this team in practice as well.”

A pass from Vergara led to Highland’s only goal of the game, scored by Owen Donovan in the second half.

“A great individual effort after a long ball over the top from Ramses Vergara,” Stewart said. 

After surrendering two early goals, the Huskie defense limited the Demons’ scoring chances for most of the first half, despite playing in their own end of the field for much of that time. 

“Alan Cortez had a great first half and really anchors our back line,” Stewart said. 

“(Eli) Slaymaker probably ended up with double-digit saves. Had a great performance for his first time in goal.”

Slaymaker stopped a penalty kick late in the first half to keep Highland in the game at 2-0. 

The Demons added seven goals in the second half to put the game away. 

“I think we got a little tired the second half,” Stewart said. “The whole game we struggled playing through our midfield, but I think it was little soccer IQ mistakes that cost us in the second half.”

With the cancellation of the 2020 season, many of the Huskies were playing in the first varsity game on Thursday, including senior Kayla Cerny. 

“I thought Kayla Cerny had great positioning in the midfield for her first ever soccer game,” Stewart said. “I also think my freshmen who came off the bench gave me great minutes, Riley Clothier was very vocal once he got in.”

A difficult schedule for the Huskies continues Tuesday, April 6 with a trip to Hillcrest, who qualified for the state tournament in 2018 and 2019. Highland will have its second home game on April 15, hosting Columbus. 

“For the first game back in two years, I thought the kids played well,” Stewart said.

“I’m trying to get them to understand shape and how to play with more structured roles, so there will be some growing pains. Even with only the two weeks of practice they’ve had, I think we have come a long way so if we can focus on that and build from there, this team will only get better.”

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