COPPELL — Heading to the fifth set, Denton coach Cassie Headrick knew she was in a moment she wanted to remember in a match she’ll never forget.
Headrick turned to the scorer’s table and said three words almost inaudible due to the raucous environment at Coppell High School on Tuesday night.
“This is crazy.” Headrick said before taking a seat and returning to her usual unbreakable focus.
That’s only the first adjective that can begin to describe the five-set thriller between Denton and Grapevine in the regional quarterfinal match. The Lady Broncos (36-10) once again showed their trademark defense and resilience, but fell just short to the Lady Mustangs (30-16) in a gripping five sets, 27-29, 25-13, 26-24, 22-25, 15-9.
Denton played perhaps its best match of the year against a fellow district champion, but was unable to pull out the win to extend its playoff run.
“This was just a war,” Headrick said. “It was the best I’ve seen us scrap and stick with it. We haven’t come across two huge blockers like that and we struggled, so it took us a while to figure that out. It was an awesome match.”
The usual standouts led the Lady Broncos in the back and forth affair. Senior Sydney Soto had 22 kills and 20 digs, junior Taylor Thomas had 10 kills and 37 digs, junior Leah Stolfus had 13 kills and two solo blocks, and sophomore Abby Folsom totaled 54 assists, 23 digs and four block assists.
Denton entered the contest winners of 15 straight and proved in the first two rounds that the group had hit its stride from top to bottom and shared a fighting mentality that Headrick always highlighted.
“This is a game,” Headrick said. “Of course we wanted to win this game, but I’m not sad because we lost. I’m sad because of the fact that this team won’t be together again. I’m proud of so many different things about this team. They just never quit.”
The 2019 season showed immense growth in the program and mentality in Headrick’s second season. The intangibles were instilled by Headrick early in the non-district season and elevated them to another undefeated district title, two playoff wins, and plenty of “crazy” moments the players and Headrick won’t forget any time soon.
Denton loses a healthy amount of seniors from this team, but has returners in Folsom, Stolfus, and Thomas to help lead the charge in 2020 and continue to grow the program.
“It was a perfect year where we did things exactly how they were supposed to,” Headrick said. “We did everything to prepare us to play these teams and to be playing the way we’re playing. We’re playing really well, it just wasn’t enough to win tonight.”