Playing their fourth in a string of seven consecutive matches at home, the Brownwood Lady Lions chalked up a straight-set, non-district victory over the Eastland Lady Mavs Tuesday night at Warren Gym.
Coming off Friday's four-set loss to No. 6 Graham, Brownwood improved to 12-11 on the season with its 25-14, 26-24, 25-15 triumph, which saw Lady Lions first-year head coach Allison Smith mix up her rotation.
“They played really well, creating their own enthusiasm was big tonight,” Smith said of the Lady Lions' performance. “I mixed up who was playing and they adjusted to that well. Everybody played today, we got to see everyone.”
Aleyia Cotton and Olivia Fowler rang up seven kills apiece to pace the offense, trailed by six each from Tessa Goodwin and Ashlyn Storm, four apiece by Jaylen Savage and Katelyn Windham, and two from Gracie Boswell.
Goodwin led Brownwood with 17 assists while Kylie Wooten contributed 14 and Caitlyn Moody was credited with one.
Wooten's four aces were a team-best followed by three apiece from Savage, Goodwin and Windham.
Moody collected 16 kills to spark the defensive effort followed by Becca Church with 11, Goodwin with eight, Wooten with six, Fowler and Savage with five apiece, Cotton with four, Storm with a pair and Boswell with one.
At the net, Savage and Goodwin each notched two blocks while Cotton and Storm finished with one apiece.
Regarding the brightest moments in the victory, Smith said, “I was most pleased with our endurance, but our defense was there again and our hitting was there for the most part. We had a few errors, but what team doesn't?”
An area in which Smith would always like to see the Lady Lions improve is communication.
“I always want to see improvement on communication, that's huge,” Smith said. “I hate whenever there's a rally going and I don't hear anything on our team but my squeaky voice. I don't want to hear that.”
The Lady Lions dominated the first set, slipped past Eastland in the second and jumped out to a 9-3 lead in the third — thanks to a pair of aces from Wooten and kills by Fowler, Cotton, Windham and Storm.
Eastland drew even at 11, by a hitting error by the Lady Mavs started a four-point Brownwood run, with Goodwin serving an ace during that span. Up 16-12, the Lady Lions received a kill from Cotton and a Windham ace to boost the lead to 18-12. Consecutive kills from Boswell and Storm later stretched the advantage to 22-14, while a kill later from Goodwin ended the match.
The Lady Lions are back home against Sweetwater Friday, then welcome Llano Tuesday before District 7-4A action kicks off Sept. 27 with a visit from Glen Rose.
“The entire month of September we only have one away game, so getting to stay home and being able to get everything adjusted before district starts is pretty special for us,” Smith said.
Looking ahead to district, Smith said, “I feel really strong about our chances. We have a young team, and it's all about how they click. Every day is a different day and we have to encourage each other.”