Dragons drill Streaks

LAKE PLACID - Lake Placid made sure its seniors went out in style with a convincing straight set win over Sebring in nondistrict volleyball on Tuesday night. The Green Dragons won by scores of 25-18, 25-21 and 25-15 on senior night to improve to an impressive 19-4 on the season. "I couldn't be prouder of the way my girls played," said first-year Lake Placid coach Charlotte Bauder. "It meant a lot to me and our seniors especially because my younger sister watched me play and now I got to coach her to a victory over Sebring in her last home match. "The girls are playing well, this was a good win over a tough opponent and we're peaking at the right time with the district tournament next week."
The loss dropped Sebring, which lost its libero to injury earlier this week, to 10-12 on the season. "Our girls didn't come to play and Lake Placid wanted to win more than us," said Sebring coach Venessa Sinness. "The hardest thing to do is beat a team three times in a season and we weren't able to do that against Lake Placid. "Kudos to Lake Placid they deserved the win." Lake Placid came out smoking in the first set and jumped out to a 9-4 lead much to the delight of the raucous Green Dragon fans. Sebring called a time out to try and slow down the tempo, but it didn't work as senior Andrea Barajas had back-to-back service aces and senior Breauna Corley hammered a pair of spikes to put Lake Placid on top by a score of 18-9. Sebring refused to quit and a spike and a dink by Cadie O'Hern and two kills by Lindsey Whittington closed the gap to 21-17. Lake Placid regrouped and ripped off a string of points to ease to the first-set victory. The second set was tied at 13 before Sebring took control behind the strong net play of O'Hern and Whittington to take a 20-17 lead. The Green Dragons battled back as Corley, senior Bella Carabello and Jacalyn Baldwin took turns blasting spikes into holes in the Blue Streak defense to tie the set at 20. A bad serve gave Sebring the lead, but Lake Placid used a pair of kill shots by Carabello and Corley to reach set point and a Sebring spike sailed long to give the Green Dragons the second set. The final set was tied at 4 before Lake Placid used the lethal tandem of Carabello dominating the net and Corley serving aces to take a 12-5 lead. The Blue Streaks had several unforced errors to fall behind by a score of 16-8. Sebring rallied behind the strong serving of Jordan Hinkle and several Lake Placid errors to pull within 21-14. That was as close as the Blue Streaks got as Carabello drilled a pair of spikes and Corley and Raveen Gobourne teamed up for a block. As a Sebring shot sailed wide on match point the Lake Placid players were engulfed by the Green Dragon fans who stormed the court to celebrate the victory. "This was an exciting and emotional night," said Bauder. "Our fans are awesome and we have a lot of love in our school and we are one Dragon. "They wanted this night to be memorable for our seniors and it worked out great." The win was especially satisfying for Carabello who transferred from Sebring and played on the Blue Streak volleyball team. "We came out ready to play," said Carabello. "We kept our composure and it came down to heart and who wanted it the most. "As a senior this means a lot to me because we lost to Sebring twice this season and to win our last home game over them is an amazing feeling." Both teams begin play in their district tournaments on Tuesday. Sebring, the No. 3 seed, is at Lemon Bay in the Class 5A-District 9 semifinal. The Blue Streaks split a pair of matches with the top-seeded Manta Rays during the season. "The biggest thing is we can't play scared against Lemon Bay," Sinness said. "We have nothing to lose and we need to play to win. "They have a solid team, but we have to believe in each other and play up to our ability." Lake Placid, which is the No. 1 seed, plays in the Class 4A-District 9 semifinal on Tuesday at McKeel Academy in Lakeland. "Our goal is to win districts and earn a regional quarterfinal match at home," Bauder said. "I couldn't be more proud of my girls because they've done everything I've asked and we're looking forward to taking care of business next week." mpinson@highlandstoday.com 863-386-5837