Streaks fall to 'Hounds
Allen Moody | Highlands TodaySEBRING - The Auburndale Bloodhounds know they're going to be in a for a game when they face the Sebring Blue Streaks.
Published: December 8, 2012
Published: December 8, 2012
Although Auburndale came away with a 4-1 victory in Thursday's Class 3A-District 13 match at Firemen's Field, it wasn't as easy as the final score may indicate.
"I felt we competed with them very well," said Sebring coach Keith Bowyer. "The scoreboard may not have showed it, but I thought we were right there."
The Blue Streaks knew the Bloodhounds, who are undefeated in district play, were going to be a tough foe.
"They're a good team and I expected a lot from them and I got exactly what I thought I would," said senior captain Nick Perez.
The match got extremely physical at times — and there were a number of yellow cards given — but once the match was over both teams showed a lot of appreciation for the others' talents.
"For a team like that, you definitely have to have a lot of respect for them," Perez said. "They'll shut out other teams, but they take us completely seriously. It's always a big game when we play them."
"They played some excellent ball," he said. "Auburndale is a tough team and I have a lot of respect for them as a team. We always have to come and play our best game to have a chance and most of the game we were right there with them."
Auburndale drew first blood when it scored less than seven minutes into the match and controlled much of the first half, but a couple of nice saves by goalie Ethan Smith and some good defensive play in the back helped Sebring keep it a 1-0 game heading to the intermission.
The Blue Streaks tied the match on Riley Watson's penalty kick just over seven minutes into the second half, only to see the Bloodhounds retake the lead one minute later.
With just over 25 minutes remaining, the match was halted due to some light failures and caused a 20-plus minute delay.
It was all Auburndale after the match resumed, with the Bloodhounds scoring on a penalty kick with 13 minutes remaining and adding a late goal.
"Right after that light failure we lost all our momentum," Perez said.
Auburndale won the first meeting between the two teams 3-0.
"I thought this one was much closer than the first time we played them," Bowyer said. "Even though it was a three-goal difference in both games, I felt like we competed much better with them. I thought we played great tonight. We did a lot of good things."
Bowyer said one reason for the success of the Bloodhounds is the feeder system they have and before the season started, he saw it shaping up much as it did last year, when the Blue Streaks and Bloodhounds battled in the district championship game.
Perez said he's looking forward to another shot at Auburndale, but the Blue Streaks won't overlook anybody as they strive for their goal of a return to the title game.
"It's going to be a big game for that district championship," he said.
The Blue Streaks (5-3 in district) step out of district for their next few matches, beginning with an afternoon contest at Avon Park today and a home match against Frostproof on Monday.
Tuesday's district match between the Blue Streaks and Winter Haven (5-2-1 in district) will go a long ways toward determining which team will be the No. 2 seed for the district tournament.
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