“Bradley is playing so much better. They are playing hard and their freshmen have really come along,” Lady Trojan coach Lorri Johnson proclaimed after two of her team’s three game wins came by two and three points.
“I feel blessed to come out of here with a win,” she added. “We lost a tremendous player and the rest of the girls pulled together to make the necessary adjustments.”
The 3-0 game tally Tuesday came by scores of 27-25, 25-17 and 25-22.
“We had some big plays and looked great at times, but we still made too many unforced errors,” Bearette head coach Christie McElhaney stated. “We lost by 12 total points and we gave away 18 on service errors.”
“It’s the midpoint of the season (they have played every District 5-AAA team once) and we have improved quite a bit since the start but we still have some tweaking to do the next few weeks,” she added.
After Soddy-Daisy (25-9, 4-2) scored seven of the match’s first eight points it looked like the rout was on. However, Bradley (7-11, 2-4) answered with an 8-1 run, capped by back-to-back aces from Kayla Arp and a big kill by freshman Rebecca Reuter to take the lead.
The lead changed hands three more times plus was tied on seven occasions, including the Bearettes making a 5-1 run to even the match at 24-all on an ace from senior Allie Bynum to force extra play.
After the two teams swapped serves, Soddy was able to earn the final two points for the win.
Despite putting three of their first five serves into the net and falling behind 13-6, the Bearettes fought and were only outscored 12-11 the rest of the second game.
In the nightcap, the visitors once again jumped out to a quick lead at 7-2 but Arp served up four straight winners, including another pair of aces to even the score.
Soddy edged ahead again but the Bearettes tracked them down to charge into the lead on a big block from freshman Brooke Copeland to regain serve, then consecutive aces from Kayla Rymer to spark a four-point run.
Trailing 20-18, the Lady Trojans scored seven of the game’s final nine points to seal the sweep.
“Our district is going to be a dogfight,” proclaimed Bradley assistant coach Terry McElhaney.
Arp finished with seven aces, eight assists and a trio of digs to pace the Bearette effort, while Rymer had a dozen digs, three aces, a pair of kills and an assist.
Allison Hayes added a dozen digs, while Copeland had six kills and 3.5 blocks. Senior Rebecca Garrett collected 11 digs, and five kills, plus Bynum finished with nine assists, a half dozen digs, and three kills.
Reuter had a pair of blocks and three kills for the home team.
Megan Ware topped the Lady Trojans with 19 digs, while Olivia Holden had 13 assists. Kelsey Nunnelly collected 15 digs and nine kills in the victory.
Bradley Central will host McMinn County Thursday evening to start the second half of the district season before playing in the Tennessee Tandem Tournament this weekend Chattanooga.