Brownwood improves to 2-1 at Warren Gym with 25-12, 25-17, 21-25, 25-23 victory

The Brownwood Lady Lions returned to the win column, halting a three-match slide and improving to 2-1 at Warren Gym with a four-set victory over the Hico Lady Tigers Tuesday night.

Brownwood dominated early in the 25-12, 25-17, 21-25, 25-23 victory, and fought through some ups and downs later in the match as first-year head coach Julie Preiss tinkered with her lineup.

“The girls played really well in the first two sets,” said Preiss, whose team improved to 12-13 on the season. “We were able to run a new play we set up off a free ball. We were also able to work different rotations in and they responded well to that.”

Brownwood racked up 53 kills led by 26 from Torrey Miller, 14 from Bailey Randle, seven from Mikaela Smith, four from Ashlynn Patteson and one each from Aleyia Cotton and Kayla McFarden.

Hadley Monroe recorded 31 assists while Miller dished out 12, Tyra Cotton was credited with two and McFarden and Aleyia Cotton added one each.

Smith served a team-best six aces, Miller and McFarden added three each, Randle chipped in a pair and Cheyenne Stroope tallied one.

On the defensive end, Randle notched 17 digs followed by 14 from McFarden, eight from Annie Gillispie, seven each from Miller and Madi Gosch, six from both Monroe and Stroope, three from Patteson, two from Aleyia Cotton and one from Tyra Cotton.

At the net, Smith and Miller tallied two blocks each while Aleyia Cotton contributed one.

The Lady Lions were never truly threatened in the opening set, while in the second set Brownwood used a 7-1 surge to open a 15-8 advantage. A Hico service error triggered the run, Smith served a pair of aces and Miller delivered two kills.

Hico closed to within 19-16, but back-to-back kills from Miller established some breathing room. Patteson later finished off the set with a kill.

In the third set, the Lady Lions suffered a hiccup as Preiss shuffled in a more inexperienced lineup in an attempt to accumulate valuable playing time prior to the start of district. Brownwood trailed by as many as seven points, 22-15, but made a late charge and closed to within 24-21 on a Randle kill.

“I was trying to get everyone in and we were playing people at some different positions,” Preiss said.

The third set loss lingered into the fourth for Brownwood, which took a while to regain its footing. Hico led 17-12 before the Lady Lions crept within a point, 17-16, thanks to kills from Miller and Smith.

Down 20-18, McFarden served an ace and Miller tallied a kill to finally even the score at 20. Hico reclaimed a 21-20 lead, but a block by Smith knotted the score, then Miller found an opening in the Lady Tiger defense to push Brownwood in front 22-21. Down 23-22, a kill by Smith evened the score, a spike from Randle couldn't be handled to give the lead back to the Lady Lions and Smith served an ace to end the match.

“That shows how much fight the girls have in them,” Preiss said of the final set.

The Lady Lions are off until Tuesday when they visit Breckenridge. Brownwood has three matches remaining before the District 5-4A opener at Big Spring Sept. 23.