Denton head coach Danielle Silva is well aware of where her team is at after six District 5-4A matches.
On Tuesday night, the Lady Broncos were one set away from dispatching Fort Worth Brewer in four sets and picking up their fourth district win of the year.
That didn’t happen.
Instead, Denton (17-14, 3-3 District 5-4A) lost in five sets to Brewer and now is in fourth place in the district. The Lady Broncos travel to face Lake Dallas tonight at 6 to cap the first half of the district schedule for both teams.
Silva’s team finished third last season, and she knows what her team needs to do for the remainder of the regular season.
“I think this was a wakeup call,” Silva said. “Comparing now to last season, we’re in the same boat now. We can afford to lose one and make the playoffs. We need to focus on winning out, and that’s what we had to focus on last year — winning out and winning games toward the end of district.”
As bad as Denton needs a win, Lake Dallas (11-20, 2-4) needs a win that much more. According to head coach Heather Van Noy, the Lady Falcons have been steadily improving since battling a string of injuries at the beginning of the season. Van Noy said that as district play has progressed, kinks in chemistry and overall play have smoothed out.
“Right now we want to win, and of course as a coach I want to win more than anything, but right now I’m looking at how much better we’re getting and that we’re peaking at the right time,” Van Noy said. “I think it’ll come. I’m just trying to be patient with these young kids.”
Van Noy said her team is much more trusting of each other than it was earlier in the season. For Lake Dallas, it couldn’t come at a better time.
Last season, Lake Dallas was the team peering down from the top at the teams battling for playoff berths. This year, with a young team, the Lady Falcons are the ones looking toward the top.
“It’s all up for grabs because people are beating people they shouldn’t be beating,” Van Noy said. “Random stuff is happening, and this is what happened last year. In this district, that happens a lot.”
Pilot Point rolling
The move from Class 3A to Class 2A for Pilot Point has been nothing but prosperous so far.
According to head coach Becky Phillips, it might not have mattered what classification the Lady Cats were in.
“I don’t know if we would have been any different in 3A,” Phillips said. “I think we’re that strong, because we’re sweeping people — we’re not just beating them. We’re really dominating, so I don’t think it would have made a difference.”
Coming into today’s District 12-2A match against Leonard at 7:30 p.m., Pilot Point (22-6, 5-0) has only one loss to a school lower than Class 4A.
That loss came four matches ago against Hockaday, one of the few times Phillips has seen her team struggle. For a team with experience all over the court, Phillips said it was one of the few times she hasn’t seen her team clicking.
The Lady Cats have swept the likes of Celina and pushed a strong Guyer team to five sets in a loss.
Phillips credits a good portion of this year’s success to her two senior captains — setter Feliciana Reed and middle hitter A.J. Campbell — and Kirby Smith, a junior outside hitter.
Reed, Campbell and Smith have been starters for the past three seasons. Reed has had plenty of time to learn and perfect Phillips’ formations, while Campbell and Smith have increased their hitting percentages and defensive play.
Campbell and Reed have led a team that’s surpassed the 15 wins it picked up last season and is one win away from matching the six district wins it had a year ago.
“We kind of forced them into that position to be leaders, and they’ve taken the reins on that well,” Phillips said.
BEN BABY can be reached 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is email@example.com .