CAMDEN – The Bradford Lady Railroaders got off to a slow start against the host Preble Shawnee Arrows. But despite the slow start they battled back and made a game of it. They won the next set with a stubborn defense that kept the ball in play. But the team had a tough time in the next two sets and finally lost 9-25, 25-19, 21-25, 18-25. In a way, it was a moral victory for Bradford as they showed that they could hang with the league leading Arrows.
Bradford Coach Alisha Patty on the match, “It was a very eventful game. We ended up playing a lot better than I thought we would. They are a really good team. They are going to be one of the best three in the conference. But I did not expect to play against them as well as what we did. It gave the girls confidence, they showed that they can play with the good teams.”
Maybe it was the long bus ride, but Bradford was lethargic in their first set. Shawnee was hoping to make a quick night of it after that decisive first set win. But a different Railroader team took the court in the second set. Rylee Canan, who had set a record for digs in a game the previous week (45), was a whirlwind in the second row. As Remi Harland served, Bradford sprinted out to 7-1 lead. She had an ace during this stretch and a block. Ramse Smith had a kill as well.
“Rylee Canan is all over the court. I’ve told her to be greedy – not in taking the ball from other girls, but just be everywhere – want that pass, get that ball, do what you need to do.”
The league leading Arrows rallied back to tie the score at 16-all. This prompted Coach Alisha Patty to call a time out. The Railroaders had a little rally of their own. With the score 19-18 and Maddie Simmons serving, Bradford had a nice 4-0 run when they needed it. Simmons had 2 critical service Aces and Smith had a big kill at the net. Bradford showed that they came to play as they won the second set to even the match at 1-1.
“Ramse Smith is a 3 year varsity player. She has played really well and she has the best hit on the team. She struggles at times, but she eventually will pull out of it.”
Bradford needed a win in the third set, but they were their own worst enemy at times. Shawnee played a fierce attacking offense. But in this set Bradford gave away points, as an example they had several double hits. These type of unforced errors was making it difficult for Bradford to stay with Shawnee. They made a strong rally late but it fell short with Shawnee fending off the charge to win 25-21.
In the last set you could sense that the team had lost their mojo. Smith did a good job out of the gate she had 3-kills and Bradford actually had a 5-4 lead. Then they had a stretch of sloppy play – they gave up 4-points in a row. Coach Patty took a timeout to straighten out the team. They responded, but couldn’t get a solid rally going. They made up ground, but once again their rally was late getting started and the Arrows kept their undefeated league record intact.