AVON PARK - Despite showing steady improvement, the Avon Park Red Devils soccer teams are still looking for their first wins of the season.
Both the girls and boys team lost to the Fort Meade Miners at Joe Franza Stadium on Friday night. The girls lost 6-0 to fall to 0-4 for the season, while the boys fell 5-0 and are also 0-4 for the season.
The Fort Meade girls came into the game with an 0-6 record and had not won a game in over two years. They snapped that streak as they outscored the Red Devils 3-0 in both halves for the 6-0 win.
Angelica Luna and Jennifer Ocampo each scored two goals for the Miners as Deeanna Reynolds added another. Seventh grader Jackie Montes capped off the scoring for the Miners when she hit the back of the net with 2:50 left in the game.
Second-year coach for Fort Meade, Lesley Green, said it felt fantastic getting her first win.
"I think the girls are finally seeing and getting the confidence to play," said Green. "I think they were kind of complacent and used to losing. They want to win, they do not know how to win. Hopefully they will use this game as an example of how to win."
Green considers this year as one to get her young players experience. Currently there are no seniors and two juniors on the team as well as two seventh graders that started.
"These same girls that may be a bit overwhelmed due to age or inexperience this year," said Green, "will be the same girls that I expect to step up toward the end of this season and next year."
Avon Park is also dealing with the youth and inexperience on its team as they only have two seniors, five juniors that only have one year of soccer and the rest of sophomores.
"They have improved quite a bit since the first game," said Avon Park Coach Christopher Sboto, "they are trying to pass the ball more and they are starting to communicate better on the field."
Sboto noted that they have a lot of speed on their team, but they continue to push the ball up the middle instead of using their speed on the outside.
"I was not happy about that," said Sboto, "I want them to bring the ball out and then bring it back in, but it's hard as we are still trying to teach the game and basic passes and other teams have already moved past that to perfecting other things."
"We just to focus on what we are doing and utilize the skills that we learn in practice," continued Sboto, "they remain positive and are striving hard to improve."
In the boys game, Avon Park showed a more aggressive style and ball control, but costly mistakes allowed Fort Meade to take a 2-0 lead after 13 minutes.
Fort Meade's Dylan Linares scored at the seven minute mark when he got behind the Red Devil defense and blasted his first of two goals into the left side of the net.
Six minutes later, Avon Park made a series of passes back and forth from the mids to their defensive backs.
Linares would strike again as he intercepted a pass going back to the defensive back, catching them flatfooted. Getting behind the Red Devil defense, he raced down the left side of the field about 40 yards before cutting towards the goal.
About 15 yards out, instead of taking the shot, he passed the ball to the right to Dru Lott, who made the easy goal to put the Miners up 2-0.
Edgar Quintero finalized the scoring for the Miners with 6:20 left in the first half as Fort Meade went into the intermission with a 3-0 lead.
Linares scored his second goal early in the second half to put the Miners up 4-0.
Dru Lott capped off the scoring with his second goal of the night with 24 minutes left in the game.
Fort Meade had a corner kick and the Red Devils were unable to clear the ball out when it became airborne in front of Lott.
He was about 10 yards in front of the goad, with his back to the net, when he half bicycle kicked the ball into the left side of the net to give the Miners a 5-0 lead.
Avon Park played Fort Meade to a stalemate the remaining 24 minutes as the Miners won 5-0.
"We passed the ball well tonight," said Fort Meade Coach Lynn Haase, "which produced some positive results. Dylan (Linares) likes to be our go-to guy, but he was dishing the ball just as much as he was getting it."
"When things are working for us," said Haase, "our forwards will press and try to force a mistake. Every once in a while you can sneak one in. Overall, they played as a team tonight."
Avon Park Coach Victor Munoz, on the other hand, is having problems keeping a consistent starting lineup as his team has been riddled with injuries over the first four games.
"We are still trying to force the ball up the middle," said Munoz, "instead of working the ball down the sides and spreading the defense out. It will be a little more difficult as we will have to move some people around again due to some injuries that we incurred tonight."
"The good thing is that they are young and want to play," expounded Munoz, "they will get better."
Avon Park will have little time for recovery as they travel to Okeechobee on Monday, then travel again Tuesday to face district opponent and county rival Lake Placid.