Three games into the high school girls' soccer season, and the Highland Rams look ready to contend for a playoff spot.
The Rams improved to 3-0, turning back Judge Memorial 2-1 on a late goal from leading scorer Kyra Heesche.
"To have this kind of start to the season is awesome and something we're not used to," said senior defender Caitlin Jarratt.
The Rams looked to be in control early when Kate Orchard found the net in the first 10 minutes. Neither team scored again until the 65th minute, when Judge Memorial's Sarah Peterson took a long pass and muscled past a Highland defender before deftly pushing the ball past Highland goalkeeper Abby Wilcox.
Heesche, a junior who entered the game with three goals in her first two outings, knew the team had to respond.
"I just thought to myself, 'We have to get a goal and get it quickly,' " she said.
Four minutes later, Heesche got her chance. Dribbling down the left hash, she used some nifty footwork to get past a Bulldog defender and calmly pushed it just Judge goalkeeper Sammy Garcia.
"We're just so much more confident offensively this year," Heesch said. "We're playing unselfish and getting some good looks."
The Bulldogs had their chances, and looked especially dangerous every time they lined up for corner kicks. One of those opportunities in the first half resulted in a shot that hit squarely off the crossbar before being deflected.
First-year Rams coach Rebecca Blommer said there is plenty of work to do for a team not used to winning.
"We've got to mark people better on those set pieces," she said. "As a whole this is probably our best game, but we need to get better every day."
Highland 2, Judge 1
• After Judge Memorial tied up Tuesday's soccer match with Highland, Rams leading scorer Kyra Heesche answered with her fourth goal of the season, improving Highland's record to 3-0.
• New coach Rebecca Blommer said a big part of Highland's turnaround this season was getting together early in the summer to work on team
bonding. Highland owns victories over Mountain View, Cottonwood and now Judge Memorial.
• Despite giving up two goals, Judge Memorial goalkeeper Sammie Garcia had several difficult saves.