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The Highlands varsity volleyball team is coming off a great season last year, where they were able to get to the third round of the state playoffs before losing to the eventual staterunner up Rosman Tigers. It was the deepest run of any previous Highlands volleyball team.

Now the Lady Highlanders are trying to rebuild after losing many seniors from that dynamic team a year ago. “It’s been a learning process for our team. We are very young and we are having to play a lot of freshmen, so that inexperience is definitely a factor,” said eight year head coach Kyle McKim. “But we are improving and they are still fighting, but it’s not something we are used to. We are losing to teams that we have not been beaten by in a very long time, but we just have to keep getting better and keep fighting,” he said.

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In only their second season as a program, the Highlands girl’s golf team is playing remarkably well so far this season. Led by Senior Stephanie Smart, the girls have a 3-2 overall record, exceeding even their own expectations. Because of their strong play early on, the team is looking forward to doing big things later this season, as the team may have two players representing Highlands at the Regionals match later this fall.

“Everything is going really well. We have made incredible progress so far this season, and I am proud of what we have accomplished so far,” said head coach and Highlands athletic director Butch Smart.

Complementing Smart is sophomore Emily Gabbard, who has made enormous strides with her swing throughout this season. “Stephanie and Emily qualified for Regionals and are really playing well for us,” said Smart. “It’s only our second year as a program, so we were new to it all last year. But we are really coming along well this year, and those two girls have been really important to our team,” he said.

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Expectations are high for this year’s Highlands soccer team, as they should be, considering the team has not lost a conference game in four years. The Highlanders have started where they left off last season, winning their first four conference games, including a 6-0 rout of Blue Ridge on Sept. 19. The Highlanders also easily disposed of conference rival Cherokee, 5-0, on Monday.

In his sixth season as head coach, Chris Green hopes to propel the Highlanders to a state championship appearance.

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Evan Moffitt, Gardner-Webb volleyball senior player and 2008 Franklin High School graduate was named the Big South Defensive Player of the Week for her impressive efforts during the matches played the week of Sept. 12-18.

She received the award after securing a record 68 digs and averaging 5.23 digs per set in three matches for the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs over last weekend at the Spartan Classic. Moffitt started the week with an impressive 21 digs against Western Carolina University on Sept. 16 and followed with 29 digs against Big South opponent Charleston Southern on Sept. 17 in non-conference action. Moffitt closed the weekend out with 18 digs in Gardner-Webb’s 3-0 win over Wofford in her second match on Sept. 17.

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