OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee High School Lady Brahman varsity volleyball team fell to the South Fork Lady Bulldogs in the fifth set of their match on Oct. 1.
What makes it even more painful is that it’s the second match the Lady Brahmans have lost in the fifth set in the past three meetings. Okeechobee lost 3-2 to Treasure Coast Back on Sept. 26.
The Lady Brahmans have looked dominant at times in those matches, but just haven’t been able to shut the door on opposing teams.
That held true during their match against South Fork. The Lady Brahmans won the first set against the Lady Bulldogs 25-16. Looking at that score, you might get the impression that it was a close back and forth set before the Lady Brahmans ran away with it late. But the truth is Okeechobee dominated most of the first set and looked to be on complete control on the way to a 3-0 sweep.
But the Lady Bulldogs came out with a little more fire in the second set. South Fork started finding weak points in the Lady Brahman defense and roared out to a 24-10 lead. A commanding spike by sophomore Ashley Phares gave some life to the Lady Brahmans as South Fork was on the brink of winning the set. With the score sitting at 24-10, Okeechobee rallied for six unanswered points but ultimately fell to the Lady Bulldogs 25-16.
The two teams battled back and forth in the third set before South Fork pulled away late to take the 25-18 win.On the brink of losing the game, the Lady Brahmans needed to rally to win the fourth set and force a fifth and final set. And to their credit, that’s exactly what the Lady Brahmans were able to do. Okeechobee jumped out to an early lead in the fourth set, but teams eventually evened up at 18-18 toward the middle of the set.
Following a timeout by Okeechobee coach Taylor Padrick, the Lady Brahmans went on a run late, which was capped off with the winning kill by sophomore Anja Koivunen.
The Lady Brahmans won the fourth set 25-22 and forced the fifth and final set that would decide the game.
That fifth set turned out to be a microcosm of the entire game. Okeechobee jumped out early against South Fork. The Lady Brahmans in the fifth set looked a lot like the Lady Brahmans of the first set. They were in control and communicating better than they had been in the previous sets. But the Lady Bulldogs hung around and refused to lose. South Fork rallied from being down 13-9 to come back and take the fifth set 15-13. The Lady Brahmans will have a chance to rebound next week when they travel to face Sebastian River on Oct. 8 and host Lake Placid on Oct. 10.