Gennifer Holberg and Kendall Wagner already have impressive resumes with the Denton Lady Broncos volleyball team.
As juniors in 2011, they helped the Lady Broncos reach the playoffs and each was named to the 5-4A All-District team.
Then this summer at the Stephen F. Austin volleyball camp, Wagner was named all-around player and Holberg named the top hitter.
Yet, there was something they had not yet achieved in their careers at Denton and that was to start the season with a victory. Well, they can mark that off their wish list. The two seniors combined for 24 kills Tuesday to lead the Lady Broncos to a season-opening sweep of Denton Calvary, winning 25-20, 25-7, 25-16.
“This was so exciting,” said Holberg, the 6-foot-1 senior who recorded nine kills in the victory. ”We’ve been waiting for this for four years. We wanted this one bad. We wanted to have a big start. This is the best way to start the season.”
The Lady Broncos may be on the verge of something really big. They are a veteran team with nine seniors who’ve had a taste of the playoffs. Add to that an infusion of players from a junior varsity team that won district last season and there is reason for optimism.
“I really liked our intensity out there tonight,” second-year head coach Danielle Silva said. “I liked that we set the pace and set the tone. I was happy to see us work together as a team.”
In the first game, Denton broke it open with a seven-point spurt to take a 17-9 lead and cruised to take a 1-0 lead in the match. The Lady Broncos were more dominant in the second game, pulling away early, but they were pushed by the Lions in the third game.
Calvary, which reached the semifinals of the TAPPS Class 2A state tournament last season, led 11-8 in the third game behind the play of its returning all-state players — senior Cory Grant and junior Anna Hollingshead. But Denton scored 11 of the next 14 points to regain control and went on to finish the sweep.
“We got a little too comfortable,” said Wagner, the 5-10 senior who finished with 15 kills. “We lost some intensity. Coach called a timeout and told us to get our focus back.”
Calvary had several strong runs throughout the match and was playing without two of its starters.
First-year head coach Jennifer Bramlett called up a freshman just before game time to fill in.
Even with that, the Lions showed some of the execution and consistency that helped them advance to the state tournament last season, where they lost in the semifinals to eventual state champion DeSoto Canterbury.
“I saw some of our players step up at times and make some plays,” said Bramlett, the former head coach at Guyer who led that team to two district titles and was twice named District 5-4A coach of the year. “We do need more consistent passing and better transition. We’ve got some things to work on.”