By Brittany Llorente
SEBASTIAN - The Sebastian River High School lady Sharks soccer team scored for the win they needed last Thursday night against the Heritage High School Panthers 4-0.
The first half was a battled game. The running up and down the field produced few shots on goal.
The Panthers were playing with only 10 players on the team, meaning there would be no substitutions, and the girls on the field were out there to stay. If a Panther received a red card, the team would immediately forfeit the game.
"It's like playing and coaching with your hands tied behind your back," said Panthers Coach Darwin Dominguez.
"We had a lot of girls still on vacation."
Panther's player Rebekka Greenwalt rarely lost momentum on the field, but admitted the team needed to play harder.
"I feel like we did OK tonight," said Greenwalt who was actually fighting a cold during the game. "We just need to work as a team more."
The cold night didn't stop the Sharks, making their first goal at 27 minutes in the first half by Brittany Gabbert with an assist by Alexis Devily.
"I think I did well tonight," said Gabbert, who switched after her second goal to being the goalkeeper. "The cold was nice and it didn't tire us out at all."
It was a slow game though, each team moving slower after the half, but the ball stayed on the Sharks side, putting pressure on the Panther's goalie.
"Their attitude changed from the first half to the second half," said Sharks Coach Hector Hurtado. "They played more as a team in the second half, held possession and worked the ball better."
Only 3 minutes into the second half, Gabbert scored again. Now the Sharks were leading 2-0.
Gabbert started a stream of goals that would be the Panthers undoing.
The almost-absent Panthers defense allowed for unhindered passing and little to no ball possession. It was easy to see the Panthers players were getting tired from being on the field without any substitutions.
"A lot of my players were in different positions tonight," said Dominguez on why the communication on the field might have been lacking. "This isn't an issue when we have everyone here."
Though the Sharks dominated the game, they made several mistakes and one key was not capitalizing, heading or setting up properly for corner kicks. The Sharks could have easily made the score 6-0 because of deflections by the Panthers goalie.
Bethany Brown scored the last two goals for the Sharks ending the game with assists from Jessica Sloan.
"This win boosts the morale up," said Hurtado. "It brings the team together more."