SEBRING - Following a loss to Lake Placid, Sebring took on another nondistrict opponent on Thursday night, downing The Avon Park in straight sets in the Streaks' final home game of the season. Sebring opened the evening by honoring its two seniors, Lindsey Whittington and Jordan Hinkle, before promptly sweeping the Red Devils by scores of 25-18, 25-22, and 25-21.
"I should never have moved Jordan (Hinkle) to Libero," said Sebring coach Venessa Sinness, referencing her strategy last week against the Green Dragons. "I need her as a hitter. But she came to me before last week's match and wanted to play that position and I said 'OK.'"
With districts on the horizon, Sinness added that her team took a lot of positives from the match against Avon Park.
"The girls have gotten a little too serious," she said. "It was nice to see them having some fun and go back to why you are playing volleyball."
That focus was evident from the opening serve, as the Streaks scored the first five points of the first set. The Devils battled back to take an 11-10 lead, and they even held a short lead at one point.
But they couldn't maintain their focus as Sebring retook the lead, 18-16, behind three service points from Caylin Webb. The Streaks went on a 7-2 run from there, which included a handful of powerful serves from Hannah Tucker, to clinch the set and take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five match.
In the second set, the Devils jumped out to an early 5-2 lead. With Avon Park leading 6-5, the Streaks ripped off a 5-0 run to take a 10-6. Sebring wouldn't trail again.
The Devils fought back to tie the score at 13, but the Streaks fired off another scoring barrage to go on a 9-2 run to take a 22-15 lead.
But Avon Park didn't roll over, as the Devils strung together a 7-2 run to close the gap to 24-22. However, the Devils couldn't get over the hump, as Sebring held on for a 25-22 win.
"I just don't feel we ever got going tonight," said Avon Park coach Shane Wirries. "We had a bunch of errors. I don't think we ever had focus. Tuesday night we rolled right over Lake Wales, but tonight we get a little going and then stop. It never felt like they got into a good rhythm."
The third set saw the Devils again take an early 6-3 lead. But on cue, the Streaks responded with a 7-1 to take a 10-7 advantage.
The two teams battled back and forth, as Avon Park regained the lead 15-14 before Sebring eventually tied it at 19. The Streaks then put the game away with a 6-2 to run to cap off the sweep.
Imani Tate led the Devils with eight kills, followed by Marina Torres, who had five. Torres also had nine digs. Maria Taturis finished with nine digs while Tate had seven.
Sebring's Lindsey Whittington finished with 13 assists; Jordan Hinkle had nine kills; and Caylin Webb and Hannah Gotsch both finished with five kills. Webb and Hinkle also added two aces.
Sebring will head to Lemon Bay on Tuesday for the Class 5A-District 11 tournament. The Streaks will take on the Manta Rays at 7 p.m.
Meanwhile, Avon Park will travel to McKeel Academy in Lakeland, also on Tuesday, for the 4A-9 tournament. The Devils are scheduled to play Frostproof for their opening match at 5:30 p.m.