It took a season, but the Lorena Lady Leopards got revenge on the East Bernard Brahmarettes, falling in three sets in the Region III finals Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Leopards had their state hopes dashed by the Brahmarettes last season. Lorena returned the favor this season, beating East Bernard 25-14, 25-15, 25-12 in Athens.
Hours after taking down Troy in three sets to advance to the finals, the Brahmarettes had a tough time getting going.
A volley of kills from Lorena, mixed with East Bernard’s unforced errors, sunk the Brahmarettes chances. Lorena’s passing made East Bernard work hard for points.
Luck also was not on the Brahmarettes side. Down one set, and trailing in the second 6-1, East Bernard went on a quick 3-0 run behind a junior Kellen Dorotik block and kill. Lorena reeled off two quick points pulling them ahead 8-4.
Brahmarette senior Samantha Rabius fired a hard kill across the net. The ball was dug by a diving Lorena defender who kept it in play, but she sent it towards the wall out of bounds. Another Lorena defender on a run fired the ball behind her without looking towards East Bernard. The volleyball skimmed the bottom of the jumbotron in Athens and fell inches inside the backline out of bounds, to the dismay of East Bernard players, forcing a timeout.
Lorena kept the momentum out of the break and went on an 8-2 run to take control.
“Lorena came out with a vengeance against us. We beat them last year and they didn’t want us to beat them again. They played really well and we just couldn’t seem to get anything to work. Sometimes there are games like that. It’s never fun when games like that end up being the last game of your season,” East Bernard coach Breanna Lolley said.
In the final set, Lorena jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead with a series of tips and blocks. East Bernard pulled close with three straight points, two coming from a Dorotik kill and a Charlsie Atteberry. However, the momentum didn’t hold with Lorena picking up 13 of the next 16 points, cursing to the win.
Of the 226 3A schools, East Bernard (45-2) made it to the final eight. Their only loss in 3A was to the final team they played, Lorena.
“These girls had a great season and I am extremely proud of them. We had a target on our backs all year long and the girls handled that pressure really well,” Lolley said. “To only lose one match throughout regular season is really impressive. It is definitely heartbreaking that we couldn’t win it all, but that doesn’t take away from the amount of success we had all year.”
“This group of girls were not only successful on the court, but they were great teammates and became great friends. As a coach, you can’t ask for much more than that.”
East Bernard had two seniors, Rabius and Reagan Goudeau, while not making state. The pair last year, reached the state semi-finals, the same as their older sisters Jessica Rabius and Logan Goudeau did in 2017.