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Greenwood scores goal amid scramble for loose ball to deny Highlands girls soccer team a state title

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

The Highlands girls soccer team did a good job keeping one of the state’s leading scorers in check during the state championship game against Greenwood on Saturday, but the Bluebirds’ defensive effort went unrewarded.

With less than nine minutes remaining, Greenwood took a free kick and senior Alyson Kaelin got to a loose ball in front of the net to score the lone goal in her team’s 1-0 victory over Highlands at Lexington Bryan Station.

Highlands forward Kenzie Nehus, No. 3, battles with Alyson Kaelin of Greenwood for control of the ball. (Photo by Allen Ramsey)

It was Greenwood’s first appearance in the state final. Highlands received the state runner-up trophy for the second consecutive year.

Greenwood senior midfielder Anna Haddock had scored 54 goals going into Saturday’s state final. Highlands limited the Auburn University recruit to three shots and none of them found the net.

Haddock did take the free kick that resulted in her team’s goal. After Highlands goalkeeper Maggie Hinegardner blocked the kick in front of the right post, there was a scramble for the ball before Kaelin poked it into the net.

Highlands had 13 shots and four corner kicks in the game. Greenwood goalkeeper Elizabeth DeMarse made four saves to keep the Bluebirds off the scoreboard for only the second time in 29 games this season.

Haddock was named the state tournament’s most valuable player. She had 19 goals in her team’s first eight post-season playoff victories before getting blanked by the Bluebirds. Greenwood finished with a 23-2-3 record

The Highlands players named to the state all-tournament team were senior Kelsey Mathis and sophomores Chloe Bramble and Faith Broering. The Bluebirds ended the season with a 20-4-5 record.

Northern Kentucky girls soccer teams now have a 6-11 record in state championship games. The last local team to win a girls state title was Notre Dame in 2013.

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