After dropping the second and third sets to Prosper Rock Hill on Tuesday night, Denton found itself with its backs against the wall.
Facing a 2-1 deficit, the Lady Broncos needed to rally to avoid dropping their season opener.
Denton did just that.
The Lady Broncos closed the fourth set on a 10-2 run and carried that momentum over to the decisive fifth frame. And behind a team-high 17 kills from all-state outside hitter Taylor Thomas, Denton completed its comeback to take down Rock Hill 25-15, 19-25, 21-25, 25-17, 15-4.
“I was really proud of how we responded at the end,” Denton coach Cassie Headrick said. “That’s how good we can be, and we see that.”
Denton dominated the final set, taking control of the match in the waning moments to preserve the win. Setter Abby Folsom dished out 37 assists while Leah Stolfus put down 13 kills.
“I feel like in the first couple of sets we were just playing to play, and we weren’t really playing with a purpose,” Thomas said. “Then in that fourth set we knew it was do or die, so we really turned on the jets and were like ‘We have to do this or it’s game over, and we don’t want to start our season with a loss.’
“So our intensity level definitely picked up in every aspect of our game, whether it was picking up crazy balls or lasting in those rallies.”
Freshman Lauren Perry, who helped the Lady Broncos weather the storm in the second and third sets, made an impression on most of the team, including her coach.
After losing several key members of the team that went to the third round of the playoffs last year, Perry showed she could step up when her number is called.
“Our little freshman, Lauren Perry, out there on the outside was phenomenal with the blocks,” Headrick said. “She was phenomenal with the pass, and she was phenomenal with the attack tonight. So, it was her night.”
Coming off a 36-10 season in 2019, Headrick’s team features plenty of new faces this year. But while Tuesday night may have served in part as some early-season growing pains for the Lady Broncos, Headrick knows the talent is there.
“I’m going to be honest; I’ve got a lot of toys to tinker with,” Headrick said. “It just might be ‘one game it’s this person, and the next it’s this person.’
“This team is really different [from last year’s playoff team]. This team is a lot deeper, and that’s why I say I have a lot of tools. We have a couple of kids in there who can come in and hit everywhere, and that’s going to allow us to move Taylor and Leah around and take some pressure off of them a little bit.”