“We haven’t swept them since I’ve been here,” declared the Bearette mentor after the 25-16, 25-19, 25-22 victory. “They are a great program and for us to be able to do that shows the potential of how good this team can be.”
In fact the Bradley program (varsity, junior varsity, freshmen) has yet to lose a single game in its five victories to open the 2012 TSSAA season. After taking a JV and varsity sweep at McMinn County Tuesday, the Bearette freshmen and junior varsity did the same Thursday before the highlight of the evening.
The Bearettes will host the Bradley Bash tonight and all day tomorrow with seven teams gathering for the annual event at Jim Smiddy Arena.
Bradley (2-0 overall, 2-0 District 5-AAA) never trailed in the first game Thursday and used an early 9-3 run to break open what had been a one-point difference.
After the Lady Owls made a brief 4-1 run, junior Brooke Copeland got the serve back for the host with one of her 14 kills on the night and then stepped to the back line for four straight service points to put the game out of reach. The 6-foot-2 junior also sealed the victory a few minutes late with a monster slam for the final point.
In the second game, Ooltewah pulled out to an early 6-3 advantage before Bradley battled back to retake the lead when junior Rebecca Reuter spurred a 4-0 rally to retake the lead.
After the teams jockeyed back-and-forth for the next seven points, Copeland repeated her opening game feat with four straight service winners to break open the close match and later finished the game with another kill. Reuter, who is also a 6-foot-2 junior, had another run of four service points late in the contest.
The two teams traded the first four points of the final game before the Bearettes edged ahead, leading at times by three and four points. Down 10-6, Ooltewah got three aces in a four-point span to spur a 9-2 run for a three-point lead.
Bradley won back the serve and an ace by Kayla Arp and a kill by Reuter evened the score at 15-15, but once again the tough Lady Owls got hot and went on a 6-2 streak, forcing McElhaney to call a timeout to stem the tide.
Whatever the veteran coach said in the break worked as the Bearettes finished the match by winning eight of the final nine points, including a pair of kills from Reuter and Copeland, plus a downed block by Copeland and an ace from sophomore Chandler Grady. Reuter did the honors to seal the sweep with her 10th kill of the night.
“We played good up the middle in front and back all night,” praised McElhaney. “We did some very good things, but I also saw some things we need to work on.”
“The girls played hard and I saw some lights of what we are trying to get them to do on defense,” she added.
Copeland led the victory with 22 digs to go with her 14 kills and two blocks. “When your player with the most kills is also your leader in digs, it shows how good of an all-around player she is,” the coach complimented.
Reuter collected 10 kills, nine digs, three blocks and an ace. Arp, the team’s senior setter, handed out 26 assists, plus had seven digs and an ace.
Grady helped out with a dozen digs, while sophomore Lisa Duvall had eight digs and four kills. Sophomore Rachael Garrett had a half dozen digs for the victors.
Bradley won the JV match by a 25-20, 25-7 tally, while the freshmen claimed a 25-23, 25-16, 15-3 sweep.