Denton’s Maria Martin (1) celebrates after her team scores a point against Heritage at Flower Mound High School on Tuesda.

FLOWER MOUND — Over a year after the devastating first round playoff loss to Boswell, Denton once again returned to the postseason as undefeated district champs, this time facing Colleyville Heritage Tuesday night at Flower Mound High School. The Broncos came out with more experience and hunger than ever before, but dropped the first set just like last year.

It was the response that showed the growth from last year, though. Instead of folding, head coach Cassie Headrick implored her team to do something unique — play angry.

The Lady Broncos (35-9) answered, winning the following three sets to defeat the Lady Panthers (28-17) in four sets 22-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-20.

“We didn’t play any defense in the first game, but at the end of set one we were able to adapt,” Headrick said. “We knew what we had to do and we didn’t want to go away with that feeling in our stomach again. We talked about getting a little bit angry about dropping the set and don’t let it happen again.”

Denton’s dominant defense returned to form in the final three sets as the blocks became effective, the back row got hands on everything, and the passing cleaned up. Eventually, the offense began cracking Colleyville as well.

Leah Stolfus and company were effective down the middle and therefore opened up outside hitter Taylor Thomas to have a stellar showing with 17 kills and 25 digs.

“Leah kept us in it and was great then Taylor had her moments and she was great,” Headrick said. “We passed the ball well and then our defense looked good. Sydney [Soto] found great shots and everyone did their part, and that’s what it’s going to take from this point forward.”

The Lady Broncos take on Granbury in the area round on Friday and are hoping to carry over their momentum along with the mentality from the win.

The fire was lit and the Broncos get their first taste of postseason success under Headrick along with the program’s first playoff win since 2015. Now the pressure is off, and Denton’s excited to make a run.

“It’s definitely a deep breath we let out,” Thomas said. “Now we know that we’ve gotten past the first round so we can do anything. It’s like a giant wall has fallen for us and now we can keep on our path.” FLOWER MOUND —

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