“We come out of the gate like thoroughbreds but finish like mules,” proclaimed assistant coach Terry McElhaney after watching the Bearettes battle tooth-and-nail in the first half of all three games against District 5-AAA leader Soddy-Daisy Wednesday night, but then fade as the Lady Trojans galloped away down the stretch.
“We’ve been a Jekyll-and-Hyde team all year,” he added. “We’ll be playing well then make back-to-back mistakes and dig ourselves a hole and have to try to climb out.”
Playing its third of four consecutive home district matches on successive evenings, Bradley got swept for the second straight night as Soddy-Daisy (34-9) remained perfect (9-0) in district play with wins of 25-16, 25-12, 25-18.
Now 12-16 on the season and even (5-5) in 5-AAA action, the Bearettes will host cross-county rival Walker Valley (15-13, 5-3) at Jim Smiddy Arena this evening. Bradley had to reschedule the Soddy-Daisy and Rhea County (Monday) matches due to head coach Christie McElhaney attending an out-of-town conference next week.
Trading the first 25 points in Wednesday evening’s opening game, Bradley led 2-1 and 8-7 before trailing the visitors by a point at 13-12. The Lady Trojans then blew the game open, scoring 12 of the games final 16 points as the hosts handed service back on each of their last four serves.
Game 2 was a similar story line with the Bearettes leading 3-1, 7-5, and 9-7, before Soddy-Daisy exploded on a 13-0 run and then downed five of the final seven points for the 13-point win.
After falling behind 3-0 and 7-2 to open the final contest, Bradley rallied to even the score at 8-8 and then took an 11-9 advantage. After four unanswered points from the visitors, the Bearettes evened the score at 17-all on a Kaitlyn Hickman ace.
Getting control of the service back, Soddy-Daisy headed down the home stretch with an all-too-familiar 8-1 run to “break out the brooms.”
“We played right there with them for the first part of each game but then we let them run away from us in the end,” expressed Terry McElhaney. “We have got to learn to finish people off. That is big for us. We showed we could play with them but then we let a couple of mistakes turn into a runaway.”
While the Bearettes will honor their four seniors tonight in their final home match of the season, Walker Valley will be looking to pay Bradley back for a five-set loss earlier in the season.