Bears put the beatdown on P-town
PRESCOTT — “Maybe next year! Maybe next year!”
“Maybe next year! Maybe next year!” That was chant the Bradshaw Mountain student section showered the court with during the final set of Bradshaw Mountain's 3-0 sweep of cross-town rival Prescott on Monday. And it came with good reason as this marked the second year in a row the Bears have swept their regular-season series against the Badgers.
“It doesn’t really matter who the better team is. Both teams came in hungry to play,” said Bears’ head coach Karrie Platt. “But we were able to stay steady and our girls stayed in the system and it worked out for us.”
Despite the fierce rivalry between these two teams, this season has featured a lopsided affair. In their first meeting on Sept. 12, the Bears manhandled the Badgers by getting the sweep 3-0.
Monday’s rematch, which also happened to be Prescott’s senior night, instilled an electric atmosphere in Prescott’s dome gym. However, the energy quickly dissipated as Bradshaw Mountain immediately took control of the match.
The Badgers are having a relatively down year, currently sitting in fifth place in the Grand Canyon Region. On top of already having a huge “Bradshaw” mountain to climb, Prescott was without the services of junior OH Kate Radavich, who dislocated her shoulder and strained her AC joint on Tuesday, Oct. 22., forcing her to be out two to three weeks.
Prescott’s offense obviously took a hit because of Radavich’s absence, which allowed the Bears to break open the first set. Bradshaw Mountain jumped out to a 12-5 lead and never looked back, setting the tone with a huge 25-9 set win.
While the Badgers struggled to generate offense, the Bears’ were running on all cylinders. Outside hitters Jordyn Moser and Mailani Manuel combined for 29 kills and nine assists while MH Sydney Rittershaus registered eight of her own.
“Our chemistry is crazy.” Moser said. “We love each other on the court and off the court and it just shows.”
Prescott struggled all night containing the Bears’ prolific offensive front. In the second set, the pesky Badgers did manage to make things interesting but the Bears’ still executed down the stretch to get the 25-17 victory.
With the third set quite possibly being the last one they play this season, the Badgers orchestrated their best effort of the night. They kept pace with the Bears and were tied 11-11 halfway through the set behind strong plays from Kendall Gisi, Sammy Spengler, Ellie Fenderson and Kari Kasun.
However, the Bears ultimately regained control like the No. 4-ranked team they are and ballooned the lead to a 20-13 margin. The winning kill was made by OH Kaitlyn Janzen, a call-up from junior varsity, who got the assist from Moser to give Bradshaw Mountain a 25-16 win.
“It’s super exciting [to get the win], but it’s a little sad though because it’s my last rival game,” said Bears’ senior MH McKyrie Herb. “It’s really sad because this has been my favorite team with my best friends, but it’s been a great year so I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end it.”
While the Bradshaw Mountain players were in a more jovial mood after their win, some of Prescott’s players leaned a little more on the bitter-sweet side, including Spengler, who potentially played in her last match as a Badger.
“It’s sad but my team was awesome and we had a lot of fun together,” Spengler said. “I definitely feel like playing the harder teams showed us what we need to work on more and pushed us to our limits more. So we know what we need to fix [if we qualify for state].”
The top 24 teams in the 4A division will all qualify for the state playoffs. The No. 9 through No. 24-ranked teams will compete in a play-in round on Thursday Oct. 31 while the top eight teams will earn an automatic bid into the first round of the state tournament on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
With Prescott (9-19, 4-8 Grand Canyon) currently ranked at No. 19, the team still has chance to qualify for the play-round. No. 4 Bradshaw Mountain (16-5, 9-2 Grand Canyon) will likely earn an automatic bid into the first round. Brackets will officially be announced on Wednesday.
This marked the end of the Badgers’ regular-season schedule but the Bears still have one more game against Mohave at home on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Aaron Valdez is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter at @Valaaron_94. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2031.