Facing the Class 5A Abilene Cooper Lady Cougars for the third time this season, the outcome remained the same, but the Brownwood Lady Lions showed signs of improvement despite Tuesday night’s 25-21, 25-16,2 2-25, 25-16 home defeat.

“We’ve already played them twice and we’ve watched a lot of film on Cooper this year, so we came into this prepared, we were ready,” said Lady Lions first-year head coach Jessica Withrow. “I was hoping to take as many sets as we could off of them and getting that one was just such a victory for us. That’s the best we’ve done against them all year.”

Despite the loss, Withrow was pleased with the energy the Lady Lions displayed on the court throughout the match, and especially during the third set.

“We were being a very scrappy team, we were going for everything, we were talking, we had a lot of heart and hustle that game,” Withrow said. “That third set was unbelievable. I thought they gave a lot of energy and I was very proud of the girls. The fourth set we just got a little tired. Passing the ball back and forth between the two teams really wore us out. We have to get the girls in a little bit better shape and continue to keep our heart, but I was very proud of them.”

Torrey Miller again sparked the Brownwood offense with 16 kills trailed by Olivia Fowler with six, Aleyia Cotton and Gracie Boswell with five apiece, Lindsey Larose with four, Katelyn Windham with three and Davalynn Monroe with one.

Annie Gillispie served four aces while two came from Hadley Monroe and Windham added one.

Hadley Monroe also recorded 20 assists followed by Miller with 12, Davalynn Monroe with a pair and Windham with one.

On the defensive end, Miller, Larose and Cotton collected two blocks apiece.

Davalynn Monroe finished with a team-best 23 digs followed by Miller with 14, Hadley Monroe with 10, Caitlyn Moody with eight, Windham with seven, Gillispie with six, Cotton with four, Fowler with three, Larose with two and Boswell and Lakyn Ratliff with one apiece.

“I felt Davalynn stepped up as libero tonight and was all over the court,” Withrow said. “She was very energetic and able to make something happen out of a lot of hard aggressive hits out of Cooper.

“Our serve receive was also a positive. We’ve been working on that nonstop and it definitely paid off tonight. We had much improved passes, and we were just very scrappy.”

The loss was the fourth in a row for the Lady Lions (7-12), but their lineup of opponents in that span included 4A powerhouse Graham along with 6A foes Abilene High and San Angelo Central — with two of those matches going to five sets.

“I know at times it’s frustrating to keep losing but at the same time I remind these girls we are playing bigger schools that have gone far in the playoffs,” Withrow said. “We’ve come a long way. If they can keep their positivity up, we’re looking forward to next week when we can play some schools our size or a little smaller in Eastland and Llano. Hopefully that’ll give us the confidence we need going into district. But being able to hang with these big schools is what I feel we need to be able to hang with Glen Rose and Stephenville in our district.”

Another larger school awaits Brownwood in its next outing as the Lady Lions visit Class 5A Abilene Wylie at 5 p.m. Friday.