Lady Brahmans host playoff against Jensen Beach

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee High School Lady Brahmans volleyball team capped off their regular season with two back-to-back wins over Sebastian River and Lake Placid this week.

Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion
Okeechobee sophomore Joy Whipple sends a ball past a defender in the Lady Brahmans’ game against South Fork on Oct. 1.

On Oct. 8 the Lady Brahmans got the 3-0 shutout victory over Sebastian River.

Sophomore Anja Koivunen led the team in kills against Sebastian River with eight, followed by sophomore Ashley Phares with six. Senior Ashley Snyder continued to lead the team with 18 digs and 19 serves received.

Two days later the Lady Brahmans hosted Lake Placid for their final home game of the regular season on Oct. 10.

Okeechobee dominated Lake Placid, once again winning in shutout fashion 3-0. The Lady Brahmans took the first set 25-12, second set 25-14 and third set 25-7.

Koivunen tied for the lead in kills with fellow sophomore Joy Whipple, each scoring five, while senior Mallorie Thomas led the team in aces with eight.

That win brings Okeechobee’s record to 10-9 for the year and gives them a first round bye in the 5A District 12 playoffs starting next week.

The Lady Brahmans will host their longtime rival Jensen Beach Lady Falcons on Oct. 15 in the district semifinals.

Earlier in the regular season, Okeechobee was only a few points away from pulling off their first win over Jensen in well over a decade.

Back on Sept. 17 the Lady Brahmans took Jensen all the way to a fifth set, something the team hadn’t done since 2010. Okeechobee jumped out to a big 9-3 lead over the Jensen to start the fifth set. But the Lady Falcons battled back to tie things up 12-12 and eventually were able to take the win with a final score of 16-14.

Whipple and Koivunen lead the team in kills against Jensen in that game, with each having 13, followed by sophomore Ashley Phares with 10.

Jensen Beach has had Okeechobee’s number for years. In fact, before 2018, the last time Okeechobee took a set from the Lady Falcons was 2010.

But last year, for the first time in eight years, the Lady Brahmans took one set from Jensen, losing the game 3-1. This year the Lady Brahmans took two sets from the Lady Falcons, losing 3-2.

Could this be the year Okeechobee finally gets past Jensen? After years of frustration there might not be anything sweeter for the Lady Brahman volleyball program than to defeat Jensen and send them home early from the playoffs.

If they get past Jensen, the Lady Brahmans would be facing either Sebring, Port St. Lucie or Westwood in the district championship. Smart money would be on Sebring being the team to advance out of those three. Sebring is new to the district this year and has racked up an impressive 16-2 record. But one of those two losses were to the Lady Brahmans.

Okeechobee and Jensen will serve up some district playoff action on Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. at Okeechobee High School.

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at rmarion@newszap.com.

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