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Seminole trio shines for Okeechobee JV

Okeechobee High School freshman Jacee Jumper manages to control the ball with her back to the net in a JV match against Fort Pierce Central on Oct. 11 in Fort Pierce. (Kevin Johnson photo)
With her teammates, including Janessa Nunez (4) looking on, Okeechobee High School freshman Jacee Jumper manages to control the ball with her back to the net in a JV match against Fort Pierce Central on Oct. 11 in Fort Pierce. (Kevin Johnson photo)

FORT PIERCE — A versatile trio from the Seminole Tribe recently completed their first volleyball season for Okeechobee High School. Freshmen Jacee Jumper, Janessa Nunez and Brienna Brockman played pivotal roles on the Brahmans’ junior varsity squad, whose season ended in October.

“They did super,” said Okeechobee JV coach Todd Jones.

With Jacee as a setter, Janessa as a libero and Brienna as an outside hitter, Seminoles covered a lot of key spots on the court.

“The three of them could put together a really good beach team,” Jones said.

Jones said Jacee excelled in the setter’s role and as a leader.

“Jacee did a great job anywhere I put her,” Jones said. “We tried a bunch of different spots and we realized she’s an awesome setter. She’s so strong. She can get to any ball. She’s super fast and she’s got great hands. She’s got a really good future in setting.”

During the team’s match at Fort Piece Central on Oct. 11, Jacee was among the most vocal Brahmans as she tried to spur her team to victory.

“Jacee did a great job tonight being positive on the bench and on the court, encouraging her team,” Jones said.

Janessa led the squad defensively against Central as she frequently prevented aces and kept the ball in play with back row quickness. She also had a strong serving game.

“Janessa played awesome as our libero this season,” Jones said. “She’s quick, she gets to balls and she was a very consistent server for us.”

During the season Brienna shifted in the front row from middle to outside, a move that paid off.

“Brienna we had in the middle playing middle blocker and then we made an adjustment and put her on the outside as an outside hitter and it was definitely an improvement for her and for the team,” Jones said.

In the game against Central, Okeechobee fell behind 4-1 in the first set, but reeled off four straight points on Jacee’s serves to take a 5-4 lead. After Central went ahead, a pair of aces from Janessa kept the Brahmans close. Late in the set, a block from Brienna energized her teammates before Central regrouped and pulled away. Central went on to post a two-set victory.

Overall, Jones said his team, which lost more games than it won, has room for improvement, which he expects as many of his players – still early in their high school careers– shift over to their club teams for the winter and spring.

Okeechobee JV's Janessa Nunez winds up for a hit against Fort Pierce Central. (Kevin Johnson photo)
Okeechobee JV’s Janessa Nunez winds up for a hit against Fort Pierce Central on Oct. 11. (Kevin Johnson photo)
Okeechobee High School’s Brienna Brockman (13) battles at the net against Fort Pierce Central in a JV match Oct. 11 in Fort Pierce. (Kevin Johnson photo)
Okeechobee High School’s Brienna Brockman (13) battles at the net against Fort Pierce Central in a JV match Oct. 11 in Fort Pierce. (Kevin Johnson photo)
Okeechobee High School freshman Janessa Nunez passes the ball during a JV match against Fort Pierce Central on Oct. 11. (Kevin Johnson photo)
Okeechobee High School freshman Janessa Nunez passes the ball during a JV match against Fort Pierce Central on Oct. 11. (Kevin Johnson photo)
Okeechobee High School’s Brienna Brockman (13) battles at the net against Fort Pierce Central in a JV match Oct. 11 in Fort Pierce. (Kevin Johnson photo)
Okeechobee High School’s Brienna Brockman (13) battles at the net against Fort Pierce Central in a JV match Oct. 11 in Fort Pierce. (Kevin Johnson photo)
Jacee Jumper sets up a pass during Okeechobee's junior varsity volleyball match against Fort Pierce Central. (Kevin Johnson photo)
Jacee Jumper sets up a pass during Okeechobee’s junior varsity volleyball match against Fort Pierce Central. (Kevin Johnson photo)
Jacee Jumper, left, and Brienna Brockman cheer on their Okeechobee JV volleyball teammates. (Kevin Johnson photo)
Jacee Jumper, left, and Brienna Brockman cheer on their Okeechobee JV volleyball teammates. (Kevin Johnson photo)
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Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at kevinjohnson@semtribe.com.
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