Osceola’s Andrea Bravo (6) prepares to serve against Harmony.  Bravo had five aces in the three-game sweep of Harmony.

Dan PearsonBy:  J. Daniel Pearson
For Positively Osceola

Led by the play of outside hitter Kaitlyn Taylor and some timely serving by Andrea Bravo, the Osceola Kowboys dominated all aspects of the match in recording a 25-15, 25-16, 25-16 win over Orange Belt Conference foe Harmony in volleyball on Thursday night.

“Our plan tonight was to go with three different rotations and to be consistent with all of them and I believe we accomplished that,” Head Coach Carrie Palmi said. “We took charge and played aggressively on offense while staying consistent with the different lineups. I thought that made the difference.”

Osceola went to 6-2 on the season with the win. The Kowboys dropped their opening game of the season in a loss to Tohopekaliga before winning the Gold Bracket but just missing the tournament finals in going 4-1 in the Nova Southeastern University Tournament. Harmony fell to 1-1 on the season and 0-1 against county opposition.

It was really a game of runs for the Kowboys. In the first game, Osceola scored five unanswered points to grab a 7-2 lead and never trail. Harmony managed a four-point rally to cut the deficit to 17-14, but another eight-point run, capped by consecutive aces by Bravo, gave Osceola a 24-14 lead. One point later, a Harmony serve sailed long to give the Kowboys the 25-15 win.

The second game appeared to be headed for a close fight, as Harmony raced out to a 3-0 lead and battled back and forth for the first half of the game—leading at one point 12-10. But the Kowboys would score 11 of the next 14 points to build a 21-13 advantage. Taylor and Ahnika Johnston each had a couple of kills during the run. Several return errors by the Longhorns accounted for two of the final three Kowboys’ points as Osceola took a nine-point win in Game 2, 25-16.

Game 3 was more of the same as Osceola trailed 8-6 before going seven-point run to build a 13-8 lead. The Kowboys did not trail the rest of the way and three more kills by Johnston spurred a rally where Osceola out-scored Harmony, 7-2 down the stretch to complete the sweep, 25-16.

“Our serving was pretty aggressive tonight,” Palmi added. “Whenever you have more aces than service errors, it’s a very positive indication and that’s what happened tonight. Even on the non-aces, they were having trouble getting a good set off the dig.”

About the only area that concerned Palmi was return errors. “We allowed a few balls to hit the ground that I thought that we should have got to. In a match like we had tonight, we were able to overcome that but we have to understand in tougher matches, those little mistakes will come back and bite us.”

For the game, Taylor finished with 11 kills and Johnston added five. Osceola had 11 aces in the match, including five by Bravo. Eimy Negron had 13 of Osceola’s 40 digs in the contest.

Harmony returns to action on Wednesday, taking on Southland Christian in a non-conference, non-district game before hosting undefeated Tohopekaliga (3-0) on Thursday. The Tigers came up with a straight-set win over Liberty on Tuesday night. Osceola has the week off before getting a rematch with Tohopekaliga next Tuesday at home.

“We are starting to go in the right direction,” Palmi added. “We finished 4-1 in a tournament that had some really good teams in it. I think we’re starting to get comfortable with what we are trying to do.”