LAKE PLACID - The battle of district unbeaten teams lived up to the billing on Tuesday night, as Lake Placid downed Avon Park 3-1 in a tightly contested volleyball match.
The win keeps the Green Dragons perfect in Class 4A-District 9 play, as they improved to 4-0 and 5-1 overall. Avon Park drops to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in district play.
"We've been busy," Lake Placid coach Charlotte Bauder said. "We've played 10 matches in the last week, but they were on fire tonight."
Even with a full schedule of volleyball, any fatigue the Green Dragons might have been feeling didn't show against the rival Red Devils, as Lake Placid won the first two sets by a combined four points, edging Avon Park 25-23 and 26-24 to take a 2-0 advantage.
"They were doing all the things they should've been doing right, and our defense was on fire," Bauder said. "We had 93 digs as a team, defensively, and seven total blocks."
The Devils staved off the sweep by winning the third set, 25-18. Avon Park took an early 6-1 lead, but relinquished it after Lake Placid's big hitters got going. Powered by Bella Carabello, who finished with a team-high 13 kills, and Breauna Corley, who was second with nine, the Dragons clawed their way back into the set to tie it at seven.
It was back and forth from there, but with Avon Park leading 12-10, Imani Tate hammered back-to-back spikes to give the Red Devils some breathing room.
And up 21-16, two more kills from Marina Torres helped the Devils hang on for their only win of the night.
In the final set, Lake Placid bolted out to a 3-0 lead. Avon Park managed to tie it a four apiece, but costly communication errors caused the Red Devils to fall behind.
Trailing 20-13, a serving error from Carabello gave Avon Park some life, as the Devils turned a long rally into two points.
But the comeback didn't last, as the Green Dragons closed the Red Devils out on a 5-1 run to clinch the match.
"It's like I've said before, we can beat them," Avon Park coach Shane Wirries said. "But we've got to come to play every game."
"We can't give them such a big lead," he added. "It's frustrating to have to keep battling back."
It didn't help that Avon Park has a small roster. Only nine girls suited up for Wirries on Tuesday night.
"I'm looking to pull some kids up from junior varsity," Wirries said. "I know it's hard on them; they just get tired. "And I don't really have anyone to sub for them. Hopefully we can start getting some more help for them."
The Red Devils won't see the Dragons again until early October, but the rematch will be on their turf.
Up next for Avon Park is another district opponent, McKeel Academy. The Devils will be in Lakeland tonight to take on the Wildcats.
Meanwhile, Lake Placid gets no reprieve in its hectic schedule.
The Dragons will also be in action tonight, facing off against nondistrict foe DeSoto at home. Both matches start at 6:0 p.m., with the junior varsity playing first followed by the varsity at 7:30.