By RUTH ANNE LAWSON
SEBRING — Tuesday night was senior night for the Sebring Blue Streaks as they hosted their longtime rivals the Lake Placid Green Dragons. Seniors Reagon Scott and Lauran Stafford were honored with a Super Mario Bros. theme and entered the game dressed as Mario and Luigi as the theme song played.
After the celebration was over it was time to get down to business. The Blue Streaks lasered in and defeated the Green Dragons 3-0 with scores of 25-15, 25-16 and 25-22. This win raises Sebring’s record to 16-2 for the season and Lake Placid’s drops to 12-13. It was an emotional night as the seniors played their last home game of the season.
“There was a lot of emotions tonight with senior night and then we had an injury,” said Sebring Coach Venessa Sinness. “We played through all of that which is really good. Lake Placid is much improved and we are still trying to get our middles involved as much as possible.
“We need to be a more rounded team so we have to keep pushing that middle. Ashley Bible hit the crud out of the ball, she has developed as that go to player and she is not afraid to block, she swings high and hard. Her and Jordan Sinness are getting their timing down and it just keeps getting better and better.”
Lake Placid started off strong in the first set with Estefani Barajas serving a three-point run to push the Green Dragons into a 3-0 lead. Barajas made a total two aces and seven assists. The Blue Streaks tied the game at 3 with a three-point run by Carly Webb.
Lake Placid and Sebring tied at 6 then the Blue Streaks pulled ahead with a three-point run by Allie Collier claiming a 10-7 lead. Courtney Webb, Ashley Bible and Allie Cannady led the Blue Streaks in kills with nine each. Bible also contributed three aces and Lake Placid’s Faith Zahn made six kills.
Sebring and Lake Placid battled for control going point for point with several long volleys. The Blue Streaks expanded their lead when Carly Webb went on a four-point run escalating their lead to 20-11. Sebring got the final points needed to win 25-15.
During set two, the Blue Streaks and Green Dragons went point for point for most of the set with Sebring holding to a slight lead. Several long volleys later Sebring clung to a one point lead of 14-13. The Blue Streaks widened the gap when Jordan Sinness served a four-point run increasing their lead to 19-15.
Sinness also contributed 23 assists and three aces. Lena Horton served a three-point run for Sebring extending their lead once again to 23-15. The Blue Streaks defeated Lake Placid in set two with a final score of 25-16.
“I thought we played well but we can do better,” said Sebring’s Ashley Bible. “It felt good to make a few big hits for my team. I think we are doing well as team and we have improved a lot since the beginning of the year. I am excited for districts and regionals.”
Set three was a nail-biter with the Green Dragons trailing the Blue Streaks early on, 10-6, until Lake Placid’s Valeria Vega tied the game at 10 with a three-point run. Sebring pulled ahead with a slight lead of 14-13. Barajas served a two-point run to push Lake Placid into the lead for the first time with a score of 16-14.
Lake Placid’s Rhiannon Sutherlin made three blocks, Jenna Capuano contributed seven assists and Yesenia Ramirez had six digs. The Blue Streaks and Green Dragons tied the game at 16, 18 and then 20 having gone point for point with the crowd going nuts.
Sebring and Lake Placid were tied at 22 when Blue Streak Scott went back to serve and made the final three-point run to win 25-22. Scott contribued 12 digs and three assists.
“It always sucks to lose but I did see some great things tonight which is great going into districts,” Lake Placid Coach Charlotte Bauder said. “We should have taken that third game to force a fourth set but it is just the little things like double blocking the middle.
“If we are not blocking she is going to continue to run the middle and that is what happened tonight so if they can get it through their heads that they need to do their jobs then we will do okay. I am super impressed with how we played defense tonight and when we did put hands on the ball we were blocking and touching balls, slowing Sebring down.
“If we clean up the little mistakes and continue to play with that intensity, I think we will be in good shape for districts. It is Sebring, we are in their house, they are always tough and we just have to figure out how to overcome crucial mistakes at certain times.”
The Lake Placid Green Dragons did not go down without a fight and the Sebring Blue Streaks walked away with the shutout of 3-0. The Blue Streaks are hitting the road Thursday night to play the Lake Gibson Braves starting at 7:30 p.m. The Green Dragons are also on the road Thursday night and will play the Okeechobee Brahmans beginning at 7 p.m.