Now 9-0 on the season, the Bearettes moved to 3-0 in district play with the 25-22, 16-25, 25-15, 25-13 victory over their cross-county rivals.
“We started slow and couldn’t get our offense running right in the first game. Then for some reason we couldn’t pass in the second game, but we put everything together and settled down in the third and fourth games,” declared Bradley head coach Christie McElhaney.
“We played incredible defense at the net throughout the match and we were digging everything out (more than 80 for the match),” she praised. “Rachael Garrett had a great day defensively. While our offense gets a lot of attention, our defense has been really good this season as well.”
Offensively, 6-foot-2 Bradley junior “Twin Towers” Brooke Copeland and Rebecca Reuter dominated with a combined 39 kills, plus defensively they dug out 27 balls and blocked 9.5 shots.
Copeland led the Bearette attack with 25 digs and 21 kills, plus she had 3.5 blocks and an ace in eight service points. Reuter tallied 18 kills, a dozen digs, six blocks four assists and four service points.
Senior setter Kayla Arp dished out 44 assists in the four-game set, plus had 13 digs, 2.5 blocks, plus a pair of aces in her eight service points.
Coming off a big win over Ooltewah earlier in the week, Walker Valley (5-9, 1-2) started the match strong, matching the hosts through the first 10 points of the night for a 5-all tie before taking four three-point leads until it was up 15-12 midway through the opening game.
Bradley put together a quick 4-0 run that included a trio of kills by Reuter, to take the lead before the teams traded the next 14 points until the scoreboard read 23-22. A dink shot by sophomore Lisa Duvall pushed it to game point before the teams traded a very long volley before a Lady Mustang shot fell deep to give the first game to the home team.
The second game started as close as the first with the score knotted at 4-all before Walker Valley exploded on 15-2 run that stunned the hosts and essentially put the game away. Despite Bradley being able to cut the deficit with a 4-0 and 5-1 runs, including four slams for Copeland and three more for Reuter, back-to-back kills by senior Bristol Snider, an ace from Eryn Walker and a blocked from Rachel Lawhorn evened the match for the Lady Mustangs.
The loss got the Bearettes’ attention as they came out with fire in their eyes for Game 3 with Copeland blocking a shot back into a Lady Mustang spiker’s face to open the contest. Racing out to a quick 10-3 lead behind a trio of aces, one from Arp and the other two by Duvall, Bradley’s advantage was never less than five points throughout the game.
The final game of the evening was more of the same from the Black-and-Gold, who scored six of the first eight points, plus used an 8-0 streak with senior Brianna Howard serving up a trio of aces and Copeland adding three kills to the run.
Although Walker Valley was able to trim the lead from 13 to 10 points behind kills from Snider and Baylee Boen, a block by Copeland, a kill from Reuter and an ace from Duvall capped the match for the home team.
Duvall collected 15 digs, a half dozen kills, plus four aces in six service points on the evening, while Howard served up 14 winners, including five aces. Sophomore Chandler Grady helped out with 11 digs and 10 service points for the victors.
For the Lady Mustangs, Taylor Pruett had 17 receptions and 14 digs, while Snider finished with 10 assists, eight kills, five receptions, four digs and three aces.
Abby Campbell added 13 assists, four digs and a trio of kills for the visitors, with Walker digging out 11 shots and returning seven receptions. Boen garnered seven kills and four digs, while Alex Rominger helped out with a half dozen digs and seven receptions.
“Bradley is a very good team and we helped them out quite a bit in the third and fourth games,” assessed Lady Mustang head coach Judy Pruett. “We didn’t play very well, but maybe we’ll see them this weekend.”
Both teams, along with Cleveland High, will travel to Chattanooga for the Choo Choo Classic.
Walker Valley won the first two matches Thursday night, taking the freshman contest 2-0 by matching scores of 25-9, plus the junior varsity match 25-19, 25-14.
Ashlyn Flock led the freshmen Lady Mustangs with eight assists, four digs and three kills, while Alexan Crittenden collected a half dozen assists, four aces and four kills. Sara Wilson garnered four aces, three kills, a pair of digs and two receptions in the victory.
In the JV match, Walker Valley was led by Alex Rominger with a dozen digs and seven receptions, plus Ashlyn Flock added 11 assists, three aces and a pair of digs.
Cleveland sweeps Rhea
The Cleveland High Lady Raiders evened their season mark with a sweep of Rhea County in Evensville Thursday evening.
Coach Trish Flowers’ squad notched a 25-7, 25-18, 25-21 victory to improve to 6-6 overall and 1-1 in District 5-AAA play.
Eva Wilhelm led the victory with 24 digs and 19 receptions, while teammate Cassie Hale helped out with 19 kills, four receptions and four digs.
Freshman Kellee Geren dished out 13 assists, served up 10 aces, had seven digs and a trio of receptions, plus Jessica Murray garnered a dozen digs, 10 receptions and three kills for the victors.
Junior Marissa Langford powered 10 kills, while sophomore Kayla Lee handed out nine assists, and dug out five balls. K.K. Clements finished the match with three digs, three receptions, plus a pair of aces.
"We played really well against Rhea County tonight,” stated coach Flowers. “I am proud of them because I thought they might not take Rhea as seriously as they should, but they came out on fire.”
“We served well and are getting smarter,” she added. “I am excited for the girls and how well they are playing. I hope it will carry over to the Choo Choo Tournament this weekend."