Denton head coach Danielle Silva shouted and pleaded with her team to play with heart midway through the third set with the Lady Broncos down two points and potentially on their way to suffering a three-set sweep.
The Lady Broncos rallied to take the third set 28-26, but they couldn’t pull off the comeback against District 5-4A rival Trophy Club Nelson, falling in four sets 25-18, 25-18, 26-28, 25-17 on Tuesday night.
Despite the defeat, the Lady Broncos (14-15, 5-5 district) are still in the playoff hunt thanks to their previous two wins over Wichita Falls and Wichita Falls Rider last week, and Silva was encouraged with what she’s seen out of her team.
“I think we had moments where we were playing our game and we were fighting,” Silva said. “I saw my team that’s really come alive recently. And then we had those moments where we would revert back. I describe it as a balloon. We would inflate and we’re doing great, and then a couple errors happened and we would deflate. We’re really going to focus on that.”
The Lady Broncos face Fort Worth Brewer and Lake Dallas in their next two games and finish the season against playoff contenders Azle and Guyer.
As of Tuesday, Denton was tied with Rider for the final playoff spot. Last season, the Lady Broncos were able to put together a successful run to end the season, and Silva said she thinks her team has it in them again.
“I’m just reminding them of our goal we made at the beginning of the year,” Silva said. “We want to make the playoffs and go further than we did last year. It’s going to continue to take hard work, and we are really, really pushing them in practice. You might not see it in the score, but we played harder than we have been in the past couple games. I still think we fought tonight and did good things.”
Junior outside hitter Jade Akins led the Lady Broncos’ offense with 17 kills while adding 10 digs. Sophomore outside hitter Kenzie Dozier added 11 kills and 11 digs, with junior setter Hannah Altman dishing out 23 assists and recording three blocks. Sophomore libero Emily Curtis had 27 digs.
The first set began with a 9-9 tie before the Lady Bobcats (20-16, 9-1) delivered an 8-1 run to take a 17-10 lead from which the Lady Broncos couldn’t recover.
With the second set starting 3-3, the Lady Broncos put together a rally to take a 9-7 lead. Later, at 16-all, Nelson put together a 9-2 run to finish the set for a 2-0 lead.
The third set also was tightly contested as neither team led by more than three points. Late in the set, the Lady Broncos fought back from a 22-19 deficit for a 28-26 win, finishing the set with consecutive blocks against Nelson’s Haley Tippet.
The Lady Broncos held tough in the fourth set and were tied at 13-13 before the Lady Bobcats used a 6-1 run to take a 19-14 lead and went on to close out the match.