The No. 12 Brownwood Lady Lions dropped their third straight match Tuesday, falling in straight sets to the Class 4A Abilene Cooper Lady Coogs at Warren Gym.
Brownwood and Cooper met earlier this season as the Lady Coogs squeaked out a five-set victory in Abilene on Aug. 18. On Tuesday, the Lady Coogs were in control throughout as they chalked up a 25-17, 25-23, 25-18 win.
The Lady Lions — who were finally back at full strength with all nine players suited up and in action — slipped to 10-13 on the season, and 2-4 in regulation five-set matches. Only one loss has come against a Class 3A squad — sixth-ranked Fredericksburg this past Saturday.
In the loss to Cooper, Julie Kennedy led the Lady Lion charge with 17 kills and 10 digs, followed by the efforts of fellow seniors Chloe Geye and Sheldyn Miller. Geye finished with seven kills and a team-high 11 digs, while Miller racked up 10 kills and seven digs.
Other key contributors for the Lady Lions included Shelbie Harry with six kills and two digs, while Alicia Castillo notched three kills and a pair of digs. Hadley Lindley tallied four digs, Kelsey Gober finished with three and Sarah Underwood recorded two. Melissa Rmeili added a kill for Brownwood.
The first set, which has plagued the Lady Lions all season, again was a thorn in their side against Cooper. Brownwood yielded six of the first nine points and again found itself in catch-up mode early.
The Lady Lions stayed within four points of Cooper until the late stages of the set, when a kill by Lady Coog Chelsea Crank ignited a four-point surge that put Brownwood in a 21-14 hole.
Kills by Harry, Miller and Kennedy allowed the Lady Lions to remain within seven points, but Brownwood could not mount a comeback as a shot into the net gave Cooper its 25th point.
The Lady Lions jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the second set behind an early onslaught of kills from Harry, but Cooper rattled off seven of the next eight points and surged in front, 10-8.
A kill from Geye closed the gap to 10-9, and the Lady Lions again hung within four points thanks to kills by Kennedy, Miller and Geye, along with a tip from Rmeili.
Cooper came out of a timeout with six consecutive points, which stretched its lead to 23-16. A kill from Miller had closed the gap to 17-16 before the break.
Down 24-17, the Lady Lions made a late charge thanks to three kills from Kennedy, an ace by Geye and a couple of Lady Coog miscues. With Brownwood trailing just 24-23, Cooper got a kill from Elan Ford, which wrapped up the set.
In the final set, Brownwood surrendered the first five points and never threatened.
Kills by Harry and Castillo closed the gap to 9-6 and 16-13, respectively, while an ace from Kennedy cut Cooper’s lead to 16-14.
The Lady Coogs regained a 21-16 edge prior to kills by Geye and Miller, which reduced the deficit to 21-18. Cooper answered with the final four points to complete the sweep.
Brownwood will be back in action at 6 p.m. Friday with a road trip to Canyon Lake.