News-Sun photo by DAN HOEHNE Stephanie Bennett, No. 3, tries to get through Noemi Secundino, No. 10, and this other converging Lady Devil defender Tuesday night in Lake Placid's win.
published: Friday, December 07, 2012
Lady Dragons roll, Devils improving
By DAN HOEHNE
LAKE PLACID - The score may have indicated that this was a typical, one-sided match-up, Tuesday's 8-0 win for the Lady Dragons over Avon Park on the soccer pitch.
And it was, in some ways, but while the Lady Devils still have a ways to go, the play on the field showed that those important first steps have been taken.
"Oh, they are much improved and definitely heading in the right direction," Lake Placid head coach John Merlo said afterward. "It's been some down years for them, but they are much better athletically and they obviously have more direction."
That direction would be coming from first-year head coach Christopher Sboto, who knows the taks ahead of him and that it isn't a quick fix.
"I've got a small core of experienced seniors, while I also have a lot of younger players and players who are just getting started in the game," he said. "They're working hard and competing every night. There's really only been one game all season where they just didn't come to play. We're going to struggle some, being so young, but it's good that they're getting started early so we have some time to build."
Building towards such moments as the strong first half they played Tuesday night, only allowing two goals to the perennial district power Dragons, and maintaining moments of controlling the action.
"There were a few times in the first half where they were really controlling the middle of the field," Merlo said. "Yes, we came in and fell into the trap of playing down to expectations, and they showed us that we can't do that."
And so they stood, just a 2-0 margin at halftime, with goals from Hannah Waller and Rosa Ramirez.
And while the Lady Devils continued to battle impressively, a now determined group of Lake Placid ladies came out for the kill.
Stephanie Bennett and Michelle Hunter each scored twice in the second half, with Jenna Blount and Mary Grace Bates both adding a goal to account for the mercy-rule early ending.
But Avon Park did stretch it until within the final 10 minutes to show that, again, they've taken some steps, but still have a ways to go.
The next step for the Devils was a Thursday match at Mulberry before a Saturday afternoon matinee against Sebring at 1 p.m.
The Lady Dragons had a Thursday home contest against another district power, Frostproof.
See Sunday's News-Sun for a recap of that contest.
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