Bearettes battle red-hot Blaze for Bash top honor
by RICHARD ROBERTS Banner Sports Editor
Aug 25, 2014 | 850 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bradley Central’s Natalie Jennings goes for the kill against the Blackman Blaze in the finals of the Bradley Bash volleyball tournament Saturday, inside Jim Smiddy Arena.
Bradley Central’s Natalie Jennings goes for the kill against the Blackman Blaze in the finals of the Bradley Bash volleyball tournament Saturday, inside Jim Smiddy Arena.
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A long weekend of volleyball for Bradley Central closed out Saturday evening with the Bearettes battling a red-hot Blaze in the finals of the Bradley Bash volleyball tournament.

The Bearettes were out of sync and struggling in Game 1 of the championship, losing by a large margin, but battled back in the second game by pushing the Lady Blaze against the wall before falling to the Middle Tennessee power.

“We didn’t play well (in game one). We got a little rattled and were focusing on what we weren’t doing right instead of what we could do right,” said Bearettes coach Christy McElhaney. “The second game we came out and played like we need to play every night.”

The Bearettes were never a factor in the first game of the championship falling to the Lady Blaze 25-9.

Bradley rallied back in game two, jumping to a 4-0 lead before Blackman fought back to tie the match at 7-7. The Bearettes and Blaze battled back and forth, trading point-for-point with neither team gaining more than a one-point advantage.

The Bearettes’ Lisa Duvall gave Bradley one final lead with a kill that made it 22-21 before Blackman again tied the match closed out the championship with three straight points.

“To play that tight with Blackman, they are an excellent ball club. You can’t ask for better competition,” said the Bearettes coach.

In earlier pool play, Bradley defeated Boyd-Buchanan 25-13, 25-16

Stone Memorial 25-12, 25-9. Chattanooga Central provided the only loss, 25-22, but the Bearettes recovered to pound the Lady Pounders 25-9.

In bracket action, the Bearettes took two games from Chattanooga Central by scores of 25-8 and 25-21 before falling to eventual champion Blackman.

In the first round of tournament play, the Bearettes downed Chattanooga Christian School 25-15, lost the second game 25-18 then recovered to win the third 15-13.

“We had 14 teams that provided great competition. We had Cookeville, which is in our region, Stone Memorial came down. Rhea County was here, also from our region. Then we had Blackman that came from toward Nashville. We had tough competition from teams we may see on down the road,” said McElhaney.

“We played well the whole time. We only dropped one game out of a set the whole tournament until the finals,” McElhaney said of the lone loss to Chattanooga Central.

The Bearettes get back into regular season and District 5-AAA volleyball with a trip to Walker Valley Tuesday.