By Kyle Shaner
TROY – The state’s No. 2 ranked team ended Bradford’s volleyball season on Tuesday as Jackson Center swept the Lady Railroaders 25-7, 25-4, 25-9 in the first round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament.
While the scores weren’t close, Bradford coach Maddie Armstrong was proud of her team’s effort and thought the Railroaders played better than the score indicated.
“We kept our heads up, which I’m very proud of,” she said. “I think even though the score didn’t necessarily reflect it, we played pretty well. We could have gotten a few balls that we didn’t quite but I think we overall played the way that we wanted to.”
Bradford’s only lead of the night came with the opening point as the Railroaders went up 1-0. From there Jackson Center went on a 16-0 run to take full control of the game. Bradford did score six of the next 16 points but lost the set 25-7.
Jackson Center started off the second set on a 5-0 run. The Railroaders never found a rhythm in the second game and lost 25-4 to go down two games to none in the best-of-five match.
Jackson Center started out the third set with a 3-0 run and quickly increased its lead to 11-2. Bradford had its best game of the night, though, and at one point put together a 3-0 run to cut Jackson Center’s lead to 17-7. However, it wasn’t enough as the Tigers won the game 25-9 to sweep the Railroaders and end their season.
Bradford finished the year with a 3-19 record, but that doesn’t show how much the Railroaders improved from the beginning of the season until the end, Armstrong said.
“Again the record doesn’t really reflect how we did,” she said. “We grew a lot from day one to today. It’s visible in the girls. They jump higher, hit harder. And we’re going to condition hard this offseason and come back stronger next year.”
Tuesday’s loss ended the high school volleyball careers of Bradford’s three seniors: Kristen Harmon, Mackenzie Weldy and Ciara Yohey.
“They’re invaluable,” Armstrong said. “We’re going to miss them a whole lot. But we’re going to do our best to fill their really big shoes and see what happens for next year.
“I’m going to miss Kenzie, Ciara and Kristen a lot.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports. For more features online go to advocate360.org or ‘like The Daily Advocate’ on Facebook by searching Advocate360.