Broken Arrow Express
Courtesy B.A. High School
Broken Arrow was up two sets to none in its match against Owasso at home back on Sept. 15. The Lady Tigers needed just one more win to sweep and they would be done for the night.
But it wasn’t looking that way at one point. Owasso, ranked No. 5 in Class 6A, had a five-point advantage and needed four more points to force the fourth set. But things changed as Broken Arrow (17-5, ranked seventh) rallied to win 27-25 and finish off the match as it needed. The Lady Tigers won the previous two sets 25-17 and 25-20.
“The key to that is teamwork, talking on the court and not having long faces,” senior outside hitter Mia Bledsoe says. “That’s a big part of the game because when you have long faces, that’s when you get down on yourself and you let the team down, so you got to keep up.”
Bledsoe finished the match against Owasso with 12 kills and 11 digs. For the season, she has 298 and 151 respectively, along with 29 aces and 22.5 blocks.
“That’s the thing that got us going is we started serving the ball really well,” Broken Arrow coach Ian Bullen says. “It put them in a position where they couldn’t attack that first ball. They were really getting some good swings early in that set which was why they were able to get that lead. The first two sets, we were blocking the ball really well. Even their good swings, we were knocking them down. They were splitting our defense, they were beating our blockers, and we needed a spark, and we got to the end of that third set and Gwyn Cowan goes back there and hits four or five tough serves in a row. Momentum is a crazy thing. You get it going in your direction and suddenly you start making the plays that you were missing earlier in the set, and it is exciting.”
Playing together has highlighted the Lady Tigers success this season, Bledsoe says.
“All season long, we’ve talked about playing together and our passing has got to get better, and we’ve got to communicate better as a team on-and-off the court, and I think that’s what helped us as a team,” she says.
Bledsoe’s presence makes an impact for the Lady Tigers. When they played in the Bishop Kelley Comets Tournament of Champions on Sept. 10, she was absent, and Broken Arrow lost 3-1 to eighth-ranked Norman. Next came a meeting against the tournament-host.
“I’ve been told many times by my own teammates that me on the court having a good attitude plays a huge part in how they play,” Bledsoe says. “For example, when I was gone from the Bishop Kelley game taking my ACT, they were all down with long faces, but then I brought them up.”
The Tigers edged the Class 5A second-ranked Comets 3-2.
“My coach says that I turned the whole game around for them,” Bledsoe says. “I feel like I had a huge part of that because you have to have a good attitude to keep your team up, especially if you are a huge leader.”
To keep the rhythm going, they have to keep up the teamwork, she says. “We have to communicate off and on the court as well. In practices, we got to give it our every single all, all the time. In practices, we can’t let go, especially coming to the end of the season. We need to keep up our hard work that we’ve been doing lately.”
Anybody that sees Bledsoe walk in the gym can see she is a stud, Bullen says.
“She is a strong girl. She makes plays that we don’t teach,” he says. “She can hit balls in places and makes plays that kind of defy logic at times. The fact that she is so big and strong and can jump is kind of a double bonus. When you got a horse like that, you got to ride it.”
As Broken Arrow heads down the stretch, they have meetings with Sand Springs, NOAH, followed by the Jenks Varsity Tournament, then taking on Kelley again, followed by Union before heading into the playoffs.