After claiming a straight-set victory in the junior varsity action, the Lady Mustang varsity ran away with the first two sets of the feature event, then after the visitors showed a little life in Game 3, Walker Valley held off a late charge in the finale to close “The Stable” door.
“It turned out to be harder than it looked like it was going to be at the beginning, but we worked hard as a team and really came out in that final game wanting to win,” declared Lady Mustang coach Judy Pruett after the 25-11, 25-19, 24-26, 25-21 tally.
“They (Bradley) were without Brooke (Copeland) and we were without Baylee (Boen), so it will be different the next time we play,” coach Pruett added. “I’m proud of all of our girls for the way they played tonight.”
Walker Valley left town this morning to participate in the Early Bird Tournament in Oak Ridge this weekend, while the Bearettes will play host to an 18-team field for the annual Bradley Bash at Jim Smiddy Arena tonight and tomorrow.
“We came out flat tonight. We were out of sync,” remarked Bradley head coach Christie McElhaney. “We dug ourselves a hole and couldn’t get out of it. We’ll use this weekend to work out some things and regroup.”
Walker Valley (3-0, 2-0 District 5-AAA) burst out of the gate by scoring the first three points of the match and galloped away to a 23-7 advantage. Madison Pruett served up nine straight winners during a 19-4 streak.
Bradley (2-1, 1-1) was able to finally get something going late in the opener with a short four-point rally behind the serving of sophomore Julia Gaither, but a block by Gracia Pierce gave the serve back to the hosts and a kill by Madison Pruett closed out the first win.
The second verse started out the same as the first with the first three points going to the home team before the Navy-and-Gold went up 9-2 and 14-6. The Bearettes fought back with 7-3 spurt and later closed the gap to just two points at 20-18, but the younger Pruett stepped up again with a trio of service points in a 4-1 run to close out the set.
Bradley took the court for the third game looking more like the squad that had won its first two matches this season. The teams battled evenly through the first 18 points before the hosts were able to edge ahead. A five-point run behind the serving of Ashlyn Flock put the Lady Mustangs up 17-11, but the Bearettes answered with a 10-4 run, including three kills and a downed block by sophomore Natalie Jennings, to even the score at 21-all.
After the hosts scored the next two points, Bradley scored the next three points on another Jennings kill, a dink by junior Lisa Duvall and an ace by libero Breelee Arms.
The Lady Mustangs evened the score at 24 when the visitors hit a slam attempt into the net, but then gave the point back on a wide kill shot of their own. Bradley got its lone win of the night when another WV shot went into the net.
Coach Pruett’s “fillies” came out strong in the fourth set, with an ace by Abby Campbell to spark a 5-0 run to open the game. WV led 7-1 and 9-3, but broke the game open with seven straight points, six of which came off the serves of Flock.
Bradley made a 7-2 run, including three straight kills by Jennings, to trim the lead to five points before the Lady Mustangs pushed back up by seven at 22-15 and 24-17. Facing match point, Bradley made one last 4-0 run with Jennings slamming home two more winners and sophomore Monica Johnson notching a kill. However, Mikayla Lumpkin was able to seal the Lady Mustang win with a downed block for the night’s final point.
Madison Pruett finished with 18 digs, 14 kills, seven receptions and a trio of aces for the victors, while libero Alex Rominger helped out with 17 digs, 14 receptions, an ace and a kill.
Flock dished out 18 assists, eight digs, a kill and an ace, with Campbell handing out 17 assists, seven digs and a pair of aces. Katelin Scoggins collected 10 digs, a half dozen receptions, a kill and an ace, while Alexan Crittenden garnered 10 kills, a trio of digs, a pair of assists and two blocks.
Perce added nine digs, five receptions and a kill to the Lady Mustang effort, while Nikki Prugh seven digs, four kills and a trio of receptions. Rachel Lawhorn added seven kills, three digs and a pair of blocks.
For Bradley, senior Rebecca Reuter had 15 digs, 14 kills, 4.5 blocks, two aces and a two assists, with Jennings collecting 14 kills as well, plus she had a dig and block.
Junior Chanler Grady handed out 14 assists and dug out 10 shots, while Duvall had 14 digs, four kills, a pair of blocks and an ace. Arms dug out 16 balls, plus fired a pair of aces, with freshman Hallie Hughes stepping in for a dozen assists, a dig and half a block.
Gaither helped out with nine digs and a pair of kills, while Johnson slammed home four winners, blocked three shots, had two helps and a dig.
Walker Valley took the JV match by scores of 25-21, 25-16 behind 10 assists and three kills from Crittenden and four kills and a dig from Abbi Mason.
Bradley claimed a three-set victory in the freshman action, dropping the first set 19-15, but bouncing back to win the next two 25-19, 15-12.
Kate Essenburg led the WV ninth-graders with 10 digs, four kills, three receptions and a pair of aces. Pierce helped out with 11 assists, three kills and three digs.