Dragons draw with Bulldogs

LAKE PLACID - Not even 180 minutes was enough time to decide Tuesday night's boys and girls soccer matches between Frostproof and Lake Placid. With the Green Dragon boys hosting the first Class 2A-District 10 match of the season for both teams, the Bulldogs looked like they would steal a win at Roger Scarborough Memorial Field before a late Lake Placid goal knotted the match at 1. Neither team managed to score in penalty time, which means Lake Placid (2-1-1, 0-0-1) stayed atop the district standings while Frostproof (1-1-1, 0-0-1) remains near the cellar. Meanwhile, just a few miles north, the Lake Placid girls (1-2-1, 0-0-1) soccer team also finished their match against Frostproof (1-2-1, 0-0-1) in a tie, ending with a final score of 0-0.
"It was a reality check," said Lake Placid coach James Ashley. "We had so much success in the first two games, I think some of us thought, 'this is how it's going to be.'" The Dragons offense was sizzling in their first two matches. Lake Placid scored 11 goals combined against DeSoto and Sebring, while only giving up two. But they couldn't buy a goal against the Bulldogs. Practically every shot from Lake Placid hit a different part of the crossbar or just missed the net. However, thanks to stellar defensive effort, the Dragons kept Frostproof off the scoreboard in the first half as well. Sparked by goalie Alfredo Aguillon, who made a number of highlight-worthy saves, Aguillon kept Lake Placid in the game with a myriad of full-body extensions and blocks. "I'm proud of our goalkeeper tonight," Ashley said. "He kept us in the game." While it was a tale of missed opportunities for the Dragons in the first half, it was just the opposite for the Bulldogs - they couldn't get out of their own way. Two headers found their way into the back of Lake Placid's goal, but each was negated by an offsides penalty. "Sometimes soccer is just a game of luck," Ashley said. "But we didn't give up. And when we played our game, they couldn't stop us. But tonight we didn't have the same kind of chemistry we had the past two games - we did just enough to stay in this game and give ourselves a chance." The second half continued the scoring futility for each team. Again, Frostproof knocked a header in that was called back for offsides, while Lake Placid was just an inch or so off target. But with just under eight minutes left in the half, a Frostproof kick sliced its way into Lake Placid's net and the Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead. Suddenly the Dragons were in another gear, plastering Frostproof's goalie with kicks while retaking possession of the ball effortlessly. Lake Placid had several chances to tie the match, but a flurry of kicks and rebounds failed to find the back of the net. All seemed lost for Lake Placid, until captain Yoyi Gomez darted in from midfield and kicked the ball into the back left corner of the goal with just seconds remaining in the match. Lake Placid managed to fend off Frostproof in penalty time to escape with a tie. "A tie isn't the greatest thing in the world, but it keeps us balanced," Ashley said. "It doesn't necessarily elevate you, but it doesn't hurt you. And for us to get a reality check without the loss, well then we'll take that." Lake Placid plays in one of the strongest districts in Class 2A, and Ashley is well aware of the battles that await his team this season. "What you saw tonight, that's going to be what every district game is going to be like," Ashley said. There's no rest for the Dragons this week, as both the boys and girls teams traveled to McKeel Academy tonight for another district match, this time against the Wildcats. Results were not available at press time. bhoward@highlandstoday.com 863-386-5841