Denton easily could have written off Tuesday’s second set and started preparing for the third.
Trailing Wichita Falls 22-12, the Lady Broncos rattled off 10 straight points to tie the second set at 22 and then scored four of the final six points to win the set en route to a 25-20, 26-24, 25-12 sweep of the District 5-4A rival Lady Coyotes.
“That put us back in a good frame of mind,” Denton coach Danielle Silva said. “We have been working on coming back in the middle of the match. Normally we will wash the match away if we lose and come back in the next set, but for us to come back in the middle of the match was fantastic for us. That’s something we’ve been working on and I’ve wanted to see from my players.”
Wichita Falls used Sarah Eakin’s six kills to fuel a 10-1 run that built the second-set lead. Eakin had 13 kills in the match, representing the Lady Coyotes’ only significant threat.
“We were able to put them out of position to where they couldn’t set her as much, and we were able to keep her in the back row longer so she wasn’t able to be in the front row,” Silva said. “That was our goal, and that’s what we focused on in the third set as well.”
Senior Kendall Wagner engineered the Lady Broncos’ 10-point comeback with pinpoint accuracy on her serves, racking up five aces during the rally.
“I wasn’t really clicking with my offense, so I guess I had to try to find something else that I could do positively,” Wagner said. “I picked it up in my defense and I obviously picked it up in my serving. It was pretty cool that I got to do something I usually don’t do. I usually don’t sit back there serving 10 points in a row. It was awesome.”
Wagner said her team occasionally falls victim to slumps within sets and that the second set was going to be different.
“We were kind of tired of just losing,” Wagner said. “We have games where we should be winning those games, but sometimes our energy drops and our play drops and we kind of get comfortable. I think we were done letting that happen to us, so we decided to take control and push through whatever was bothering us and pull out the win.”
Wagner said she was aiming for the Lady Coyotes’ left-back position during her serves, but was mainly focused on being consistent.
“She is a very aggressive server,” Silva said. “Her serve is there every single time. They couldn’t handle her, and we got 10 points from her.”
With the third set tied at 5, Denton put together a 7-1 run with senior Brittany Keffer tallying two kills to take a 12-6 lead.
The Lady Broncos finished off Wichita Falls with an 11-2 spurt, capped by a 5-0 run that included two McKayla Cecil aces and two Keffer kills.
“Our serve-receive was the best I’ve seen from us in a long time,” Silva said. “It has been on point. We’re moving to the ball like we need to move, and we took the momentum on our side. We’re working toward being more consistent every game. If everybody isn’t on their game, somebody else needs to pick up the slack. We have the talent; we just have to all have the talent at the same time.”
Jade Akins and Gennifer Holberg led the Lady Broncos with eight kills apiece. Keffer had four blocks while Morgan Reese added 17 assists.
Denton (16-13, 2-2 District 5-4A) recovered from a 13-10 deficit in the first set by responding with a 7-0 run.
The Lady Broncos will play host to district foe Azle at 6 p.m. Friday.
“It was a needed win. Instead of being 1-3 [in district], we’re now 2-2,” Silva said. “We needed that win to still be contending for a playoff spot and contend for district.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .