The Denton Lady Broncos started their season off on the right foot Tuesday with a 25-16, 25-20, 25-11 victory over the visiting Calvary Lady Lions.
A playoff team a year ago, Denton lost some seniors but has found new leadership.
Outside hitters Jade Akins and Kenzie Dozier and setter Hannah Altman are team captains, and Tuesday saw each of them lead with communication and execution.
“They all stepped up in leadership tonight,” Denton coach Danielle Silva said of the trio. “Offensively and defensively, we didn’t have any talking errors, which are something we struggled with in scrimmages. They were connected and holding their teammates accountable.”
Akins led the Lady Bronco offense with 11 kills, while Altman made the most of this year’s opportunity as setter with 16 assists to go with four aces.
“I don’t think Jade has reached her full potential,” Silva said. “Tonight was solid play for her, but I think there’s a beast in her that can be unloaded. Hannah Altman played middle for us last year, and I was really impressed with her running the offense, setting for us and also front-row [play]. I was really impressed with both my setters tonight.”
Denton took a 17-11 lead in the first set on two Calvary misses, but the Lady Lions claimed five of the next six points to draw within two points at 18-16 and force a Denton timeout. With the set up for grabs, the Lady Lions couldn’t put the ball in play enough and Denton captured the final seven points, capped by Akins’ fourth kill.
In the second set, Anna Hollingshead’s ace highlighted a 5-1 run for the Lady Lions, and they led 13-8 after two Denton misses. The Lady Broncos then went on a 4-1 spurt of their own to force a Calvary timeout. With Calvary up 18-16, two kills from Dozier helped Denton claim a 20-18 advantage, and Altman’s kill finished off the set.
“The second set was kind of where we lost the tempo,” Silva said. “We were one pace behind, whereas in the first game we were a pace ahead. They were hitting off our blocks and our defense just wasn’t reacting.”
After two closely combatted sets, the Lady Broncos put it all together in the third set, jumping out to a 10-0 lead on an Akins kill. The Lady Lions fought back to 11-4 on a Hollingshead kill, but that was as close as they would get.
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.