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Soccer Teams Both Top Ranked
Oct. 10 – The Highline Men and Women Soccer teams are both top-ranked in the latest NWAC Coaches Poll. The Men swapped places with Tacoma, now ranked second, after the T-Birds defeated the Titans 4-2 at Tacoma. The Highline Women’s Soccer team remains top-ranked with six of eight first place votes, ahead of second ranked Peninsula. The Women’s Volleyball team is ranked 10th, just behind Bellevue.
Muzzling the Bulldogs
Oct. 17 Highline 7 Bellevue 3
Highline scored early and often, taking a 5-0 into halftime before settling for a 7-3 win over the Bellevue Bulldogs. The T-Birds demonstrated a balanced attack, with six players scoring goals, led by Jason Rodriguez with a pair to give him a team leading 15 goals for the year. With the win the team, already having clinched a playoff spot, improves to 12-1-0 for the season and 9-1-0 in league play. Highline plays at Pierce on Oct. 20 before concluding the regular season at Tacoma on Oct. 24. It is quite likely this final game will decide who wins the NWAC West Division and gets a first round bye in the NWAC playoffs. Each team has only one loss, coming at the hands of each other. Tacoma handed Highline its only loss of the year, 2-1, on Sept. 19 while Highline beat the Titans 4-2 on Oct. 6 at Tacoma.
Sinking the Clippers
Oct. 13 Highline 5 South Puget Sound 0
A potent offense and a solid defense is almost always a winning formula and so it proved for Highilne as the Thunderbirds shut out the South Puget Sound Clippers 5-0, scoring all its goals in the first half. Highline’s attack was led as usual by Jason Rodriguez (two goals, one assist) and Ryley Johnson (one goal, one assist), with Mohamed Duntow (assisted by Gaoussou Doucoure) and Noah Runsvold (assisted by Marcus Machado) also tallying goals. Alex Weaver didn’t see much action on goal, fending off the three shots the Clippers managed for the match.
The contest also allowed Head Coach Steve Mohn a chance to rest his starters, playing his bench for the entirety of the second half and giving them some valuable game experience. Highline next takes on Bellevue College in a home match on Oct. 17 at 3pm.
Highline’s Gaoussou Doucoure (25) vies for the ball with Dominic Ceu Bik of South Puget Sound.
Blanking the Bulldogs
Oct. 17 Highline 3 Bellevue 0
Jewel Boland scored two goals and Savannah Hutchinson was stellar in goal as Highline won its biggest conference game of the season, shutting out the Bellevue Bulldogs 3-0. It was Bellevue’s first loss of the year, with the two teams having previously played to a 2-2 tie in a Sept.12 match at Bellevue. The Thunderbirds are 12-1-1 for the season and 10-0-1 in conference play, having clinched a playoff spot. Bellevue is 11-1-1 for the season, 9-1-1 in league, and in second place behind Highline in the NWAC West Division. The win was quite important as the division winner gets a first round bye in the NWAC playoffs.
The T-Birds scored early, at 6 minutes, with Jewel Boland scoring from an assist by Savannah Nichols. Boland scored again at 27 minutes off an assist by Hannah Anderson, who crashed the Bellevue defense in the goal crease. The resulting scramble in front of the goal gave Boland the opportunity to body the loose ball into the net for her 15th goal of the season. Dino Gonzalez iced the match for Highline with her fifth goal of the year at 57 minutes, assisted by Jordan Goolsby. Bellevue was held at bay by the Highline defense, sparked by the goalkeeping of Savannah Hutchinson. After being largely untested in the last two matches, she had nine saves against the Bulldogs, with the most notable one being a twisting, sprawling save of a loose ball a few feet in front of the Highline goal.
The Thunderbirds have three road games left in the regular season, at Green River on Oct. 20, Centralia on Oct. 24, and at Grays Harbor on Oct. 27.
Fiona Dawson, centering the defense, controls the ball against the Lower Columbia Red Devils.
Gutting the Gators
Oct. 17 Highline 3 Green River 0
A Highline squad looking for its 24th win of the season took on a winless Green River team and the results were quite predictable, with the T-Birds dispatching the visiting Gators in a little over an hour, 25-12, 25-7, 25-10. With the win the T-Birds improve to 24-9 for the season and 6-2 in league play, in third place in the NWAC West Division. Highline travels to South Puget Sound on Oct. 19 before returning home to take on the Centralia Trailblazers on Oct. 24.
Losing to Pierce
Oct. 12 Pierce 3 Highline 1
There is a reason the Pierce Raiders is one of the top teams in the NWAC Conference and the top team in the NWAC West Division, and it showed as the Raiders defeated the Thunderbirds 3-1 (27-29, 25-11, 25-19, 25-21) at the Highline Pavilion. Misiona Riberio led Highline with 11 kills, with 31 assists for Kiana Troy and 32 digs by Mahie Kaawa. Pierce was led by Peyton Foster (19 kills, 25 digs) and Hattey Smith (42 assists). With the loss the T-Birds now stand at 23-9 for the season (5-2 in conference) while Pierce improves to 24-4 (7-0 in conference).
The match was especially noteworthy for the first set, which Pierce won 29-27 and could have easily gone either way. The set had everything, including extended rallies with great effort by both squads, highlighted by improvable lunging saves, including one or two off a foot or fallen player. The second set, which Highline won 25-11, saw perhaps the best stretch the team has played all year as it took a 9-0 lead before Pierce could tally a point. The Raiders asserted themselves, however, in the third and fourth sets in taking the match.
HIghline next Hosts a struggling Green River squad on Oct. 17 at 7pm.
Misiona Riberio with the kill against Pierce.
Madison Sackman with the left side attack.
Gearing Up for the Upcoming Seasons
Women’s Softball / Men’s Basketball / Women’s Basketball
The Highline Women’s Softball team is busy practicing getting ready for the upcoming season. Head Coach Jason Evans welcomes 11 freshman to go with seven returning sophomores for one of the most talented and deep squads in recent team history. Among the key returning players are Kiana Kingsley, who led the team in hitting last year with a .350 average, and Hailey Clark, who hit .336 with seven home runs and 36 rbis. The key to the season will be how the freshman dominated pitching staff gets up to speed playing at the college level.
Head Coach Jason Evans makes a point during practice.
Back to Basics
The Highline Men’s Basketball team has begun practice for the 2018/19 season under Che Dawson, starting his16th year as Head Coach (251-180 overall /148-86 West Division). The team will rely on key returning sophomores David Harris (19.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg), Coby Rothwell (10.9 ppg. 5.2 rpg), and Steffun Singleton (6.2 ppg, 2.7 apg), along with nine newcomers. The team will begin scrimmaging other teams at the beginning of November before getting the regular season underway on Nov. 23 at the Skagit Valley Tournament.
Head Coach Che Dawson starts his 16th year leading the Men’s Basketball program
The Highline Women’s Basketball team begins its second year under Head Coach Daimen Crump, with six new faces joining a team that surprised everyone, except possibly themselves, by going 11-16 (7-7 in league) with a squad that sometimes could only dress seven players. This year’s team looks to build on last year with key returners including Sharon Ajaya (14 ppg), Nadija Demic (6.9ppg) and Kanani Kremers (7.8 ppg), With a year of Coach Crump’s new system behind them, they will be expected to provide leadership in bringing all their new teammates up to speed.
At the beginning of his first year, Head Coach Daimen Crump stated “This season’s mission is to set a new course, focused on creating an environment that facilitates all student athletes to establish goals, work hard to achieve them, and most importantly have fun doing it.” Now in his second year, this new course begins its next step.