Ridgway loses for first time this season

Ridgway volleyball lost 3-0 (26-24, 25-20, 25-23) to Bradford Thursday night at Ridgway Area High School. Ridgway was off to a strong start with a 5-1 lead early in the first set. Maria Buhler had three straight aces in the early going for the Lady Elkers. Bradford was able to score three straight after getting the margin to 6-3. Bradford took a 9-7 lead before two straight Lady Owl errors tied the set at 9-all. Ridgway scored two straight but Bradford was able to do the same to make the score 11-all. From 11-all, the teams alternated points to 15-all, then Bradford took a 16-15 lead before Ridgway scored a pair of points. Bradford did the same to reclaim a 1-point lead at 18-17 but Ridgway would score three in a row to take a 20-18 lead. A Katie Oknefski kill had the Lady Elkers up 22-19 but Bradford responded with three straight points. Ridgway took a 23-22 advantage as Bradford served it out of bounds. A Lady Owl kill evened the score but Oknefski added another kill to put the lead at 24-23. Ridgway then hit two straight kill attempts out of bounds to put Bradford one point from a 1-0 lead in the match. A Bradford kill gave the Lady Owls the first set at 26-24. “Bradford has an excellent defense,” Ridgway coach Janet Redmond said. “They hit from all sides of the court. They just have a really fantastic team. I hope they go really far in their district playoffs. We kept up with them. That’s probably going to be one of the toughest competitions we’ve had all season. Our girls did a good job. Bradford was a much better team than us [Thursday night].” The Lady Owls took that momentum into the second set, scoring five of the first six points to prompt a Ridgway timeout. Bradford built the lead to 10-2 before Ridgway scored four of the next five points to get within five at 11-6. The 5-point margin held for the most part, Ridgway was able to get the deficit to four at 16-12 before a 4-1 spurt from the Lady Owls pushed the lead to 20-13 for Bradford. Ridgway would keep the pressure on the Lady Owls and had the margin down to three at 23-20 after a Buhler ace. But Bradford would score the last two points to take the second set by a 25-20 margin. “They can do it all. They can hit, they can tip, they can quickset,” Redmond said. “Their serves were good. The girls did a good job. That was high competition. We just fell short.” Jenna Hoffman started the third set for Ridgway with three service points, including an ace. After two straight points from Bradford, Ridgway had two of its own, including an ace from Ellie Woodford. Bradford would score a pair then Nicole Breier would respond with a kill to put the Ridgway lead at 7-5. At 7-all, Ridgway took the lead back on a Lady Owl service error. The Lady Elkers built the lead to 12-9 before three straight points from Bradford tied the set at 12-all in a back-and-forth matchup throughout. A Breier kill sparked three straight points for Ridgway and put the Lady Elkers up 15-12. Bradford would rally to tie the set at 17. Ridgway scored four straight points, the last point was scored on an Erica Thorwart ace. The Lady Owls responded once again with three straight points, Ridgway called a timeout with Ridgway ahead 21-20. Bradford tied the set at 22 and after Ridgway was able to take a 23-22 lead before the Lady Owls finished the match with three straight points. The loss is Ridgway’s first of the season. “We can’t let this one loss define our whole season,” Redmond said. “We need to get back to work and finish off our season and try to win the rest of our games. We can’t hang our heads because we have a really nice team here. We just have to come together and start being a team again and go on from here. In life, sometimes you get kicked and you get back up and keep on going. That’s what we’re going to do.”Ridgway is scheduled to play at St. Marys Tuesday at 7 p.m.