Seven teams from the local area plus the Hoover, Ala., Lady Buccaneers converged on the Jim Smiddy Arena Friday and Saturday as the Bradley Central volleyball Bearettes hosted the annual Bradley Bash.
Joining the Lady Bucs vying for championships in two divisions were Soddy-Daisy, Red Bank, Boyd-Buchanan, Rhea County and McMinn County.
After pool play on Friday night and well into the afternoon Saturday, the Lady Trojans of Soddy-Daisy stepped up to challenge the Lady Buccaneers for the Gold Division championship on the main floor of the arena while Boyd-Buchanan and McMinn County battled it out for the Silver Division title.
At the end of the long weekend for the very tired athletes, Hoover and Boyd-Buchanan went home with first-place trophies. The Lady Bucs from Chattanooga swept the Lady Cherokees in straight games for the Silver title while the swashbucklers from Alabama did the same to the Lady Trojans for the gold crown.
The Bearettes jumped into Friday’s pool play with losses to Red Bank, 25-20 and 25-12, then recovered to defeat Rhea County 25-11 and 25-14.
Saturday, the Bearettes were victorious over Boyd-Buchanan taking 2 of 3 games. Game 1 went to Bradley Central 25-20. Game 2 saw the Lady Bucs take a 25-22 win before the Bearettes moved on to face McMinn County in their final pool play series with a 16-14 victory.
Coach Christy McElhaney’s girls earned the right to face Hoover in the Gold Division semi-final match by winning over the Lady Cherokees 25-21 and 25-17.
“There were times today when I really thought we tried to play at the next level,” McElhaney said. “I was real excited. We did some cross-pool games just so we could play Hoover because they are a top-notch team. We ended up getting to play them in the semifinals of the Gold which was huge.”
Hoover jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first game of the semifinal match and held a comfortable 22-11 lead before closing out the 25-13 win.
“We kind of sputtered out a little bit. We played McMinn right before (the semifinal) and we kind of let our game level fall. We didn’t do the basics right,” said the Bradley coach. “It took us a while to get back with Hoover, but Hoover is a great team. To even score 15 or 20 points against them is good.”
In Game 2, the Bearettes rallied back from a 5-2 deficit to take a 6-5 lead before Hoover tied the game at 6-6. Bradley Central came back once more to tie it up at 7-7. The Lady Buccaneers went on to build a five point lead at 13-8 before the Bearettes crept back into the game. A Kayla Rymer ace followed up with a kill by Rymer cut it to 14-13. From there, Hoover ran the score to 19-13 and built an 8-point cushion closing out the match with a 25-17 win.
“We had a great tournament. We had a tough-fought battle with Red Bank Friday and kind of came up on the losing end of that. We came back today and our only losses were to Hoover. Really, if you look at everybody else we beat, Hoover was our only loss,” said McElhaney. That’s not bad.”