CovCath, Highlands battle to a 1-1 draw

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“We’re still figuring things out about us,” Covington Catholic soccer coach Jeremy Robertson said Tuesday.

Highlands coach Suli Kayed talked about the lessons he hoped the Bluebirds learned.

Turned out there was a lot left to be resolved for both teams. The Colonels and Bluebirds played to a 1-1 tie at CovCath’s Dennis Griffin Stadium.

“What’s really important about regular season is taking away lessons,” Kayed said. “Composure on the ball, clearing it correct when we need to clear it, being able to find our forwards’ feet, playing off each other, getting our wingers more involved.”

Tuesday was CovCath’s second straight tie – the Colonels and Cooper were scoreless on Aug. 31. What’s at least a little more concerning: the Colonels are 1-3-2 since Aug. 24.

Robertson bemoaned the numerous scoring chances in the six-yard box the Colonels did not convert; he said that’s been a recurring theme this season.

CovCath coach Jeremy Robertson (left) talks to his team. Ray Schaefer | LINK nky contributor

“When we have the opportunities within the box, we’ve gotta take advantage of it,” he said. “We’ve gotta have that guy that wants to step up and score goals.”

CovCath’s Chris Wessels opened the scoring with a goal in the 34th minute off Highlands goalkeeper Sam Lang, who replaced starter Jack Wilson, who had received a yellow card not long before. Wessels was supposed to be somewhere else, but teammate Cole Hubert told him to get inside the six-yard box.

“(Hubert) said he was gonna find me,” Wessels said. “I beat my guy to the front post, and I scored.”

Five minutes later, Highlands’ Zach DeSylva evened the score by sending Chad Gesenhues’ throw-in past Colonels keeper Auggie Eilerman.

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“I take full responsibility for that,” Eilerman said. “… It got lost in the light a little bit. When I went up for it, I was already committed, so I had to stay with it.”

DeSylva found himself at the right place.

“It was a really strong throw-in,” DeSylva said. “He just put it right in front of the goal, pretty much right where I was standing. I just had to jump up and put a head on it, and I was able to finish it.”

The three leading scorers going into Tuesday – Highlands’ Harrison Gamble (11 goals) and CovCath’s Jack Fleck (seven goals) and Aiden Leach (six scores) – were held off the scoresheet.

“We weren’t necessarily man-marking anybody,” Kayed said. “Everybody has an individual role defensively.”

Eilerman was a goalie unafraid of leaving his line. The best example: In the 18th minute, he took on Highlands’ Tyler Whitney, who was mostly alone to his left, and sent the ball out of bounds for a Bluebird throw-in.

Highlands had its next best scoring chance in the 51st minute. Eilerman kept Adarsh Khullar’s shot out of the net, but the ball bounced off his chest and to DeSylva, who sent the rebound over the crossbar. 

CovCath begins a three-game road trip Monday in Louisville against DeSales. Highlands journeys to Union on Thursday to take on defending Ninth Region champion Ryle at 7:45 p.m.

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