OHS girls soccer team starts tough season

OKEECHOBEE  The Okeechobee Lady Brahmans varsity soccer team went 1-2 through their first three games of the 2017 season, defeating Lake Placid 8-2 while losing to South Fork 8-0, and Lincoln Park 6-1.

Opening the season on the road against South Fork on Nov. 8 was always going to be a tough task as that team went to the state championships last year and has been an annual playoff contender.

South Fork was aggressive and put constant pressure on the Lady Brahmans goalies, senior Brooke O’Hagan on the varsity team and sophomore Makalyn Jones on the JV team. O’Hagan had 18 saves in the varsity match and Jones had 24 saves in the JV match. Both the varsity and JV teams lost 8-0. OHS varsity coach Eric Swant took responsibility for the loss.

“The girls played hard,” Swant explained, “just not with the same speed and control. We were unprepared and I take full responsibility for it. Three years ago our varsity team was mercy ruled in the first half against South Fork, this year we lasted until there were ten minutes left in the game.”

Against Lake Placid on Nov. 10 the varsity team won 8-2, with OHS junior Ashton English scoring five goals, junior Janel Aponte scoring two and junior Alani Garcia scoring one. Varsity goalie Brooke O’Hagan had 15 saves in the match. The JV team was victorious as well, winning their game 4-0.

“I was very happy with the speed of our forwards,” Swant said, “and the passing and crosses they used. We also had four assists from our mids which only makes our offense stronger. Lake Placid was a very rough team which we used to motivate us to play harder. The final score proved that.”

After two road games, the Lady Brahmans finally had their first home game of the season against Lincoln Park on Nov. 14. The varsity team lost 6-1 in what was a tough physical match. The Lady Brahmans only goal came from Ashton English with an assist from junior Ashley Snyder. OHS goalie Brooke O’Hagan had a great game with an impressive 24 saves.

One scary moment for the Lady Brahmans happened in the first half as OHS senior Aleene Romero went down with an injury after she attempted to clear the ball from in front of Okeechobee’s goal and collided with a Lincoln Park player. Romero had to be carried off the field by coach Eric Swant and was taken to Lawnwood medical center with a broken tibia. Swant reports that Romero will have surgery after the swelling goes down.

The JV team lost to Lincoln Park 1-0, OHS JV goalie Makalyn Jones had nine saves in the game.

Senior Brooke O’Hagan spoke after the game on how she maintains concentration when facing an aggressive team that puts a lot of shots on goal.

“It’s all about communication with the defense,” explained O’Hagan, “we gotta tell each other where the ball is at, and where it’s going. And after a while you start to see the pattern the offense is playing.”

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

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