OKEECHOBEE- The Okeechobee High School Lady Brahman varsity volleyball team hosted the defending state champion Jensen Beach Lady Falcons at OHS on Oct. 10.
Jensen came into the game with an impressive 19-5 record, and looked like the team to beat in Okeechobee’s 5A District 13. But despite the formidable resume that the Lady Falcons had built for themselves, Okeechobee matched their play on the court. Kill for kill, block for block, the Lady Brahmans kept pace with the state champions.
A big contingent of Jensen Beach supporters made the trip to Okeechobee to cheer on the Lady Falcons. OHS welcomed the Jensen Beach faithful to Brahman Country by going on a 5-0 run to open the first set. The Lady Falcons battled back and tied the game at 7-7, and the two teams traded the lead until Jensen pulled away late to win 25-21.
The second set began with both team fighting to a 5-5 tie before the Lady Falcons jumped out to a 17-12 lead. Jensen took advantage of every Okeechobee mistake to pad their lead and won the second set 25-19. The good news was that is if the Lady Brahmans cleaned up their mistakes, they’d have a real shot at stealing a set from the champions.
And during the third set, that’s exactly what happened.
Okeechobee’s communication on defense was flawless, and the mistakes that the Lady Falcons were relying on to get points evaporated. Suddenly, Jensen Beach found themselves trailing for most of the set. The Lady Brahmans went on to take a 25-19 victory in the third set.
Jensen rebounded in the early minutes of the fourth set, with the two teams taking turns holding the lead. Midway through the set, Okeechobee rallied to a 17-13 lead which caused Jensen Beach to call a timeout to help the team regroup and to hopefully stall the Lady Brahmans’ momentum.
But those hopes of stopping Okeechobee’s momentum were dashed with two critical blocks that helped the Lady Brahmans win the fourth set. Jensen Beach’s outside hitters had been punishing the Lady Brahman defense the entire game. However, in the final stretch Okeechobee senior Sydney Matthews blocked Jensen’s attack and scored a kill in the process. OHS junior Aubrey Clay followed that up with a block kill of her own and Okeechobee won the fourth set 25-18.
The Lady Falcons opened the fifth and final set by going on a 4-0 run until Okeechobee rallied and tied the game 5-5. Both teams traded points until Jensen put together a run to win the fifth set 15-12 and defeat Okeechobee 3 sets to 2.
The win moves Jensen to the top seed in district rankings, while Okeechobee secures second. The Lady Brahmans swept all three other teams in the district this season, and were one set away from competing the district sweep and defeating the mighty Lady Falcons.
On Oct. 17 Okeechobee host Sebring in the district semifinal at 6 p.m. at OHS.