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News Story
Updated: 12/11/2013 08:00:03AM

Stingy Lady Highlanders snag key district win

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PHOTO BY ROBERT BLANCHARD

Anna Gilbert of Lake Wales takes a fall as Auburndale's Karlee Thompson and Lake Wales' Amanda Robillard battle for control of the ball at Thursday's match in Lake Wales. The Highlanders scored the only goal of the game to win over Auburndale; 1-0.


PHOTO BY ROBERT BLANCHARD

Players and spectators alike were surprised by water sprinklers which started automatically about 20 minutes into the first half of Thursday's match at Legion Field. It was turned off about four minutes later and did not negatively impact the field or the game.

PHOTO BY ROBERT BLANCHARD

Highlander Emmalee Richards (in white) guards the ball with her feet as Bloodhound Karlee Thompson tries to swoop in for a steal at Thursday's home game for Lake Wales against Auburndale.

PHOTO BY ROBERT BLANCHARD

Highlander Emmalee Richards (in white) slides in to save the ball from going out of bounds and to move it away from pursuing Bloodhound Karlee Thompson, approaching from her left. Lake Wales kept the Bloodhounds at bay and won their match with a single goal for a final score of 1-0.

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Since it’s fast approaching the holiday season, the Lake Wales girls varsity soccer team might want to think about adopting the Grinch as its new mascot.

That’s because a stingy defense which hasn’t allowed a goal since Nov. 14 has helped the Lady Highlanders to an 8-2-2 mark so far this season.

The effort this fall was punctuated last Thursday at Legion Field when Lake Wales snagged a 1-0 decision over district-foe Auburndale.

In fact, the Lady Highlanders have reeled off four straight wins, all shut outs, and last allowed a goal on the road in a 1-1 tie against the Lady Bloodhounds almost a month ago.

Macy Sinner got the only goal Lake Wales would need in last week’s important league win, with an assist from Mariah Daly. Sarah Owen was strong in goal with eight saves to get the shutout.

“This was a big game for to see where we really stood in the district,” Coach Josh Havens noted. “It was a very physical and defensive battle. With four minutes left in the game Mariah played a perfect through ball to Macy.”

Sinner has provided the Lady Highlanders with just enough offense to date. She bagged two goals a night later as Lake Wales blanked Lake Gibson, 3-0. Kayla Shelton added the other goal, and this time, it was Ashley Castleberry in goal, with her five saves, getting the whitewash.

“It is very difficult to play on back to back nights especially after a tough district game like Auburndale,” Havens said. “I give our girls credit they went out and gave another great effort.”

Earlier last week, Lake Wales defeated Sebring, 3-0, in another Class 3A, District 11 showdown on the road. Sinner got Lake Wales on the board first, just a couple of minutes before intermission, after taking a nice pass from Anna Gilbert.

Shortly thereafter, Daly converted a long free kick, banging it in off the post, for a 2-0 Lady Highlander lead at the half. Shelton scored with 12 minutes to go for the final margin of victory.

“They are a great team and what helps them is that they have great team speed. If they made a mistake, they were able to get back and make up for it.” Sebring coach Richie Birdsall told Highlands Today newspaper after the game.

Havens noted that it took a little time to get on track.

“We didn’t really play our best game in the first half but we found a way to win. We controlled the midfield better in the second half, Havens noted.

He added that it seems the team is peaking at the right time.

“We are beginning to hit our stride as a soccer family,” he said. “We are beginning to hit our stride as a soccer family. The girls will give anything and everything for their teammate next to them on the field. We have a saying that 1 is better than 11. They are buying into that philosophy and it is paying off. The girls come to practice everyday and continue to work and motivate each other.” The girls will give anything and everything for their teammate next to them on the field. We have a saying that 1 is better than 11. They are buying into that philosophy and it is paying off. The girls come to practice everyday and continue to work and motivate each other.”

Lake Wales played Tenoroc last night, a game too late for this week’s edition of the News. They will be at Lakeland Dec. 12 and Hardee Dec. 13 before returning to Legion Field Dec. 16 in a rematch against the Lady Dreadnaughts.


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