FORT WORTH — There was a unifying feeling after defeating Colleyville Heritage in the bi-district playoff round. It was a silent sense of satisfaction, but an even greater feeling of relief paired with a growing anticipation for the ensuing area round.
By the time 6 p.m. rolled around on Friday night at Chisholm Trail High School, not even two hours of traffic and a talented Granbury team could slow down the Lady Broncos’ energy. Denton (36-9) rolled through the first set before coming from behind to win the second and third sets, sweeping the Lady Pirates 25-13, 25-23, 25-23.
“We were a little tense, but that must have worked to our advantage early,” Headrick said. “We passed well in the first game, and that sounds simple, but it’s the most important part of the game. That allowed everyone to get involved offensively.”
Middle blocker Leah Stolfus capitalized on the crisp start, putting down two kills and a block in the opening few points to help the Lady Broncos seize momentum over the Lady Pirates (33-13).
For the match, Stolfus finished with nine kills, one solo block and two block assists, but her impact was larger than the numbers. Her presence helped Taylor Thomas and Sydney Soto to post 10 and 12 kills, respectively.
“[The fast start] was pretty important because it opened up our other players to get kills,” Stolfus said. “It also created a dominance on the court from the first point. Hard serves were also key for us to get them out of service.”
The defense was equally as impressive, forcing Granbury’s offense to adjust time after time.
The Lady Pirates did find success, though, taking leads in both the second and third sets. Denton trailed 17-15 in set two and 22-20 in set three before the experience and toughness shined through, pushing the Lady Broncos into the next round. Campbell Sweeten led the defense with 21 digs and three aces in the win.
“We stayed together,” Stolfus said. “We depended on each other in every single point. We depended on the passes for the sets and sets for the kills, so it was a team effort.”
The feeling was different after this win. This celebration was loud. This performance showed Denton’s aggression as well as their trademark ability to stay together in the face of adversity.
This win also set up a date with Grapevine in the regional quarterfinal round. The two play on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Coppell High School. Denton defeated Grapevine earlier in the season, but the Lady Mustangs have hit their stride and promise to give Denton all it can handle.
Regardless of opponent, the Lady Broncos have created an identity, and now there’s no more relief for the team — only a discernible focus on the future.
“Now, it’s like, ‘Yeah, this is what we do,’” Headrick said. “This is how we attack every match. They’re not super high. They’re not super low. They just go out and get it done.
“With this team, the resilience is through the roof and they just don’t quit.”