“We have the talent to play with any team in the district but what we don’t have is consistency,” bemoaned Bearette assistant coach Terry McElhaney after the four-game loss.
“Ooltewah is a strong team and made some great plays but we made some great plays as well,” he added. “Volleyball is a game of runs and we just couldn’t put together enough strong runs. They (Ooltewah) did.”
After pushing Ooltewah (27-15, 7-0 District 5-AAA) to five games during their first meeting, Bradley (11-15, 2-5) forced a fourth game Tuesday evening at Jim Smiddy Arena before succumbing to a 25-17, 25-22, 22-25, 25-16 Lady Owl victory.
The Bearettes will journey across the river to Rhea County Thursday for a district match before heading to Knoxville this weekend for a tournament at Karns High School.
Bradley jumped out to a quick 3-1 advantage to open the match but the Lady Owls fought back to take their first lead at 4-3.
After the game was even at 4-4 and 5-5, the visitors put together a six-point run but the Bearettes fought back to win five of the next half dozen points.
Ooltewah stretched the lead back out to six with a 7-2 run, but freshman Brooke Copeland slammed a hard kill to regain control and junior Kayla Rymer served up three straight winners including an ace to pull the home team within three.
That was as close as Bradley would get as the girls in red capped the first game with a 6-1 streak for the eight-point win.
Although there were only two lead changes in the second game, the score was tied eight times before Ooltewah went on a 9-1 run to take a 21-13 advantage.
Not willing to give up, the Bearettes fought back with back-to-back aces from senior Allie Bynum closing the gap to just two points before the Lady Owls were able to seal the deal.
Neither team led by more than four points in the third game as Bradley trailed early but rallied with a 13-7 run to take the lead for good.
Kayla Arp downed three straight aces to help the home team to its biggest lead of the battle but Ooltewah was able to pull back even at 20-all with a four-point run of its own.
The Black-and-Gold scored five of the game’s final seven points with back-to-back kills from Rymer and Copeland closing out the victory.
After the wake-up call, the Lady Owls showed why they haven’t lost a district match this season, racing out to a 12-2 advantage in the final game but once again the young Bearettes weren’t willing to fold their tents.
Six straight service points from senior Rebecca Garrett sparked a 10-2 run and pulled Bradley within two points of the lead before Ooltewah closed the door with an 11-4 run for the overall win.
“We didn’t come in doing what we needed to be doing,” McElahaney expressed. “Our serve receiving hurt us and we’d make a great play and then turn around and hand the ball right back to them with a bad serve.”
“Being consistent from beginning to end is the key to success and we haven’t gotten to that point yet,” he added.
Bynum led the Bearette effort with 15 digs, 14 assists, a half dozen kills and three aces. Arp had 13 assists, four digs, four aces and a kill.
Allison Hayes dug out 17 balls, while Copeland collected 10 kills, a pair of blocks, two digs and an assist.
Garrett collected a dozen digs, five kills, three aces and a pair of blocks for the home team while freshman Rebecca Reuter had two kills and a pair of blocks. Ashley Jones served up a trio of aces.
Lady Raiders sweep Rhea
Cleveland improved its district mark to 5-3 with an easy sweep at Rhea County Tuesday evening.
Now 22-8 overall on the season, Coach Patricia Flowers’ Lady Raiders posted a 25-17, 25-7, 25-13 victory over the Lady Eagles.
Kristen Pickett had a strong, well-rounded match with 13 kills, a half dozen receptions, five digs and a trio of assists.
Ayesha Rock helped out with 14 digs, 11 assists five kills, three receptions and a pair aces. Payton Tipton dug out 20 balls, returned eight receptions and served up five aces in the victory.
Jessica Davenport collected 10 digs, four receptions, three digs, three kills and a couple of aces, while Brooke Miller had nine receptions, eight digs and two aces as well.
“Q” Abdullah-Muhammad garnered a half dozen kills, five digs, an assist and a block.
Courtney Whitlock downed four kills and had a dig, while Kayla Gash had a trio of kills, a block ace and a dig. Zanna Thompson had three digs and an ace.
Cleveland will play host to cross-county rival Walker Valley Thursday evening in a key district matchup at 7:15. Freshman action will begin at 5:15 and junior varsity at 6:15.
Lady Mustangs fall at Soddy
Half of Walker Valley’s losses this season have come to the powerful Soddy-Daisy squad and Tuesday evening proved no different.
The Lady Trojans (24-11, 6-2) made it a three-game sweep with tallies of 25-8, 25-21, 27-25.
Now 20-10 on the season and 5-3 in district play, the Lady Mustangs were led by Caitlin Geren who had 10 service points with a pair of aces, five assists, three blocks and a kill on the evening.
Kayla Sewell helped out with four blocks, four service points and a trio of kills, while Katie Wilds had four blocks.
Karis Terpstra recorded four kills and a block in the battle, while Bristol Snider garnered four service points with a couple of aces, two kills and a block.