CORINTH — Denton setter Hannah Altman has been under the weather lately and was unable to practice Monday, but that didn’t keep the junior from delivering one of her best performances of the season.
With its playoff hopes on the line and three District 5-4A matches remaining, Altman boosted Denton with a triple-double as the Lady Broncos took care of business Tuesday at Lake Dallas with a 25-20, 25-15, 20-25, 25-13 victory.
“We knew that these last three games for us were extremely crucial,” Denton coach Danielle Silva said. “We knew Lake Dallas upset us in the past — last year we split with them — and we didn’t want that to occur. That driving factor was making sure we stayed focused and doing what we needed to do. We missed 17 serves against them last time and we won in three [sets]. We knew that, but we didn’t want to get cocky about it.”
Altman was all over the court offensively and defensively, pacing the Lady Broncos with 17 kills, 17 assists and 16 digs, while junior outside hitter Jade Akins added eight kills and eight digs. Sophomore outside hitter Kenzie Dozier had eight kills with 13 digs, while freshman setter Emily Acker led the team in assists with 20 and sophomore libero Emily Curtis anchored the Lady Broncos defensively with 21 digs.
Altman couldn’t be ignored in the opening set. Denton fell behind early but responded with a 5-1 run to take a 6-5 advantage. The teams jockeyed to a 10-all tie, but it was the Lady Broncos who pounced on the up-in-the-air game with a 7-1 run led by Altman’s kill and 2 1/2 blocks.
Lake Dallas fought back to within 21-19, but Altman put the finishing touches on a 4-1 Denton run with a block to win the set 25-20.
After Denton (16-15, 7-5 district) took the second set in convincing fashion, the Lady Falcons (5-20, 2-10) bounced back in the third set with an 11-1 run to take an 11-3 lead. A three-point run gave Lake Dallas a 15-5 lead and forced Silva to call timeout. Denton crept back to within a point at 18-17, but the Lady Falcons closed out the set 25-20.
“Dropping a set tonight concerned me a little bit,” Silva said. “Right now is not the time to lose focus, so that’s something we’re going to really talk about and work through [today] and Thursday before going into Azle, because we have to be in the right mindset and know what we have to do. We need to make sure we control that destiny Friday night.”
In search of a response, the Lady Broncos were driven by three kills from Altman to take a 9-1 lead in the fourth set.
Lake Dallas did make a 4-0 run to draw within 12-7, but Denton quickly snatched the momentum back from the Lady Falcons with a dominating 7-0 run that made it 19-7.
The Lady Broncos finished out the match with a 4-0 spurt to claim the final set 25-13 and send them into Friday’s all-important showdown with Azle, which they are tied with for third place in the district along with Wichita Falls Rider.
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.