3-0 Brownwood hosts Wylie Friday in battle for first place

The Brownwood Lady Lions may have been looking ahead to Friday’s showdown with Abilene Wylie, but were able to survive a roller coaster ride for their third consecutive District 5-4A victory Tuesday night.

Following Brownwood’s 25-22, 25-12, 13-25, 25-21 triumph over the Snyder Lady Tigers at Warren Gym, the Lady Lions will next host Abilene Wylie at 5 p.m. Friday to wrap up the first half of league play with sole possession of the 5-4A lead at stake.

“We’re really excited for the match on Friday,” said Lady Lions first-year head coach Julie Preiss. “We’re both tied for first place at this point in district, so this will be a big determining factor for the rest of the season. They’re coming to our house and we’re going to prepare the next few days. But the girls know they can’t play like they did tonight and get by Wylie.”

The Lady Lions were plagued by bouts of inconsistency Tuesday, but were able to find a way to win despite not playing their best ball.

“I liked that the girls were able to pull out the win,” Preiss said.

Offensively, the Brownwood effort was paced by Torrey Miller’s 19 kills followed by Bailey Randle with 10, Mikaela Smith with eight, Tyra Cotton, Aleyia Cotton and Ashlynn Patteson with two apiece and Cheyenne Stroope with one.

Hadley Monroe distributed 27 assists while Miller added nine and Alex Fowler was credited with one.

Behind the service line, Monroe and Miller tallied three aces apiece while Randle and Kayla McFarden added two each and Annie Gillispie served one.

On the defensive end, McFarden’s 18 digs led Brownwood trailed by 12 each from Randle and Miller, five apiece from Smith and Gillispie, three from Monroe, two from Madi Gosch and one each from Stroope, Fowler and Aleyia Cotton.

At the net, Smith chalked up a pair of blocks, as did Stroope, while Aleyia Cotton added one.

In the opening set, the Lady Lions raced out to a 5-0 lead, but Snyder gradually worked its way back into the contest and closed the gap to 19-18.

The Lady Lions pushed the lead back to three points, 21-18, on a kill by Randle, but again Snyder crept within a point at 22-21.

A Randle spike resulted in a 23-21 edge, then Snyder hit a ball into the net to make the score 24-21. Leading 24-22, a kill from Miller finished the Brownwood victory.

The Lady Lions’ best performance came in the second set as they opened a 6-0 advantage and never looked back.

Stroope’s block gave Brownwood its first double-digit lead, 17-7, as the Lady Lions continued to pile on the points.

A kill from Patteson made the score 22-10, while Tyra Cotton’s kill ended the set.

After a disastrous third set in which very little went right, the Lady Lions grabbed an early 8-3 lead in the fourth set after a kill by Miller.

Snyder closed the gap to 20-19, but kills by Randle and Miller pushed the lead to 23-19, which all but iced the victory.