LITTLE ELM — It wasn't a shocker that Braswell took Ryan, the only unbeaten team in District 5-5A, to five sets. The Lady Bengals have made a habit of going the distance with opponents, including last year during their maiden season.
They're just not pulling out wins when they get there.
Despite another impressive showing on their home court, the Lady Bengals' momentum faded in the decisive frame Friday as Ryan closed with a 7-1 run to win 20-25, 25-16, 25-13, 15-25, 15-9.
Ryan (24-11, 6-0 district) has won 19 straight district matches dating to 2015. Braswell (20-12, 2-4) has now lost three straight district matches — the last two in five sets.
"Ryan is a great program, and they're undefeated just like they were last year. But our girls stepped out there tonight and battled. I'm proud of that," said Braswell coach Allison Irvin, whose team is 1-2 in five-set district matches. "We won that first set, but it's like we relax when we go over to the other side of the net. And it's not a little relaxed; it's an extreme difference."
Just moments after dominating Ryan in the first set, Braswell looked helpless over the next two frames as Ryan jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the second set and 15-4 in the third. The Lady Raiders won both sets to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Behind gutty performances from Taylor Curtis and Jaci Sims, who finished with 15 and 11 kills, respectively, Braswell stormed back to win the fourth set. The surge saw Braswell break open what was a three-point game with an 8-1 run.
"It was definitely a gray hair kind of night," Ryan coach Nicole Hervey said. "These girls don't realize the target they have on them, so they come out relaxed and people jump on them. We come back, but we relax again. Braswell has a good group, but luckily we have a little more experience."
Ryan sealed its win with a kill from Sarah Grant, who finished with six kills and eight digs. Taylor Terry led the Lady Raiders with 15 kills while Ashley Schroeder chipped in with 12 kills, five blocks, 23 digs and two aces. Taylor Brann added seven kills, two aces, 36 assists and 22 digs.
Braswell got eight kills from Grace Alexander and seven from Maddi Brown. As a team, the Lady Bengals piled up seven aces and nine blocks.
"To go down in two straight sets and battle back was good to see," Irvin said. "We did a great job of regrouping and I'm proud. These girls know what they are capable of."
STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.