The Sweetwater Lady Mustangs forced the Brownwood Lady Lions to work a little harder, but could not deny head coach Mary Steed’s squad an outright district championship.

The Lady Lions were presented the District 2-3A volleyball championship trophy by superintendent Dr. Reece Blincoe following Tuesday’s 25-17, 25-19, 20-25, 25-17 win over the Lady Mustangs at Warren Gym.

“Words can’t even explain how I feel right now,” said senior Alex Williams. “It feels really great just to know that we’re district champions.”

Brownwood accomplished its goal of sweeping the district as it finished 10-0 in 2-3A action and improved to 28-8 overall. Sweetwater, which will represent the district as the second seed in the playoffs, slipped to 32-8 overall and finished 8-2 in district.

The Lady Lions will be making their fifth straight appearance in the postseason, but their first as district champions.

“Honestly I didn’t think we could do this when we were younger, but I proved myself wrong,” said senior Moochie Galloway. “It feels good to know we’re the best, number one.”

By virtue of winning the district title, the Lady Lions also earned a first-round playoff bye. Brownwood will not begin its postseason run until late next week.

The victory came before easily the largest crowd of the season. Fans brought brooms, painted their faces and chanted for the duration of the contest, then gave a thunderous ovation when the final point was recorded and the Lady Lions were presented the trophy.

“Everybody at school was talking about this and we were on the radio and in the newspaper,” Galloway said. “It was a big thing and it was really exciting.”

Flynn Harrell led the Lady Lions with 25 kills, followed by 18 from Julie Kennedy, eight from Galloway, three from Chloe Geye, two each from Williams and Sheldyn Miller and one kill from Stephanie Jordy.

Harrell also notched a team-high six digs and served three of Brownwood’s four aces.

RaeLee Taylor added four digs, three each came from Williams and Jalisa Hall and Kennedy added two.

Galloway and Jordy recorded two blocks each, while Harrell and Miller tallied one.

Williams finished with 55 assists and Jordy contributed four.

The Lady Lions jumped out to their customary 2-0 lead in the match, but hit a bump in the road in the third set. After grabbing an early 4-1 lead, the Lady Lions witnessed Sweetwater reel off six straight points. Brownwood never led again, but did close the gap to 22-20 before the Lady Mustangs chalked up the final three points.

“That helped us more than anything,” Williams said. “We actually needed that to know where we were. I’m happy to know that we played as a team and came together and beat them. That’s what we came out here to do.”

Added Galloway, “We were falling down in the third game, but we just came together and got our spirits up.”

In the decisive fourth set, a kill from Galloway ignited a 5-0 run that pushed the Lady Lions in front 7-3. Galloway added another kill, while Harrell served two aces and Kennedy picked up a kill during the run.

The Lady Lions stretched their lead to 13-8 on a Jordy block, which led to a Sweetwater time out.

Kills by Williams and Harrell and a block from Galloway allowed the Lady Lions to the push the lead to 21-11.

After a Sweetwater rally closed the gap to 22-17, a Williams ace and two Kennedy kills secured the win for the Lady Lions.

In the first set, a Harrell kill started an 8-1 run that gave the Lady Lions a commanding 17-11 advantage. Harrell also ended the set with a kill.

In the second set, two kills each from Galloway and Kennedy, and one by Harrell, put Brownwood up 9-4. The Lady Lions led by no less than three points the rest of the way.