LAND O’ LAKES — One team is trying to shed an identity and another is trying to find one.
In the always-heated, always tightly contested crosstown and district rivalry between Sunlake High and Land O’ Lakes, the Seahawks came away with a 2-1 win, while the Gators came away with the confidence their coach knew his players always had.
“I think we’re resting too much on last season,” Sunlake coach Sam Koleduk said, referring to the team’s historic trip to the state semifinals. “We’re overconfident and overlooking the opponents we’ve had. A win is a win, and we’ll take it, but it was not our best because it’s early and we underestimated a team you can never underestimate.”
While the Gators (2-2, 2-2 Class 3A-District 8) were able to shut down the Seahawks’ top players, such as Connor Spencer and Remi Pimm, Sunlake (3-0, 3-0) outshot Land O’ Lakes 7-5 in the first half. However, Aaron Aucoin put away a goal with less than a minute left in the half on an assist by Andrew Eastley.
“I’m very happy with how we preformed and I thought how well we played in this game was better than how we played in the first two games that were wins,” Gators longtime coach Mark Pearson said.
Land O’ Lakes tied the game in the 44th minute when Glenn Johnson buried a 35-yard free kick.
The teams battled back and forth for rest of the second half until Connor Kallenbourne scored on a long strike, with an assist from Alex Goble, in the 75th minute.