News-Sun photo by BRITTANY WHITTINGTON Meghan Lollis tries to swat this shot past these two Lake Gibson defenders Thursday night.
published: Sunday, October 07, 2012
Five no magic number for Streaks, Devils
By DAN HOEHNE
The night showed promise for both the Lady Blue Streaks and Red Devils.
But Thursday night's key district matches also saw them both end on dour notes.
Facing the visiting District 6-4A leader, Avon Park gave DeSoto all it could handle.
Back on Sept. 18, in Arcadia, the Lady Devils fell in four, getting a third-set win and reaching a high-water mark of 18 points among the losses.
It started out Thursday as if it might be a repeat against the District 6-4A top seed with a 25-16, opening-set loss.
But the improvement over the last two-plus weeks was shown as Avon Park answered right back with a 25-21 win to even the match at a set apiece.
The Bulldogs would bite back, flipping the script on the score and taking a 25-21 decision of their own.
But making it three straight 25-21 scores in the fourth set, saw the Devils on the winning side to even it at 2-2 and force the rubber match.
The back-and-forth, however, ended there, as DeSoto darted out of the gate and never looked back, taking a resounding 15-3 win in the clincher.
This ended Avon Park's three match winning streak, district wins over Mulberry, Lake Placid and Frostproof, and now has the team at 3-3 in district play.
The Lady Bulldogs improved to 6-1 with the win and secured their hold on the top seed.
Two more district matches remain for the Devils, at Mulberry Tuesday and a home date against the Green Dragons Thursday, to shore up the seedings before the District Tournament at Lake Placid begins Monday, Oct. 22.
In Sebring, the Lady Streaks suffered two losses Thursday night, one certainly influencing the other.
Starting setter, Lindsey Whittington, came down wrong early in the match against visiting Lake Gibson and suffered a sprained ankle, shelving her for at least the rest of this night.
Senior middle Meghan Lollis, however, stepped up her presence at the net and helped move Sebring along.
But without the experience and ability of their main cog running the offense, consistency broke down.
And though the Streaks would push the Lady Braves to five sets, the final count saw Lake Gibson victorious and moving just ahead of Sebring for second in the standings.
"Lindsey has a second-degree sprain," head coach Venessa Sinness said. "And really, we can let her heal. Next week's games, against Winter Haven and Lake Gibson, really don't mean much at this point.
"We've beaten Kathleen twice, so we are guaranteed in third place," she continued. "The best we can do is tie for second, which would still have us facing the same team in the tournament. So next week will just be about getting more girls some court time, getting more experience. Then we'll see how Lindsey is and start working her back in after that."
Those final two district matches are on the road at Winter Haven Tuesday and Lake Gibson Thursday.
The Lady Streaks then head to Orlando beginning Friday, Oct. 12 for the two-day Orlando Volleyball Academy Tournament before taking on county rivals Lake Placid and Avon Park the following week to close out the regular season.
The District 9-6A Tournament will be held at Kathleen in Lakeland beginning Monday, Oct. 22.
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