AUBREY - The Lake Dallas volleyball team rebounded from its letdown loss against The Colony last week, taking down Denton Braswell by a final count of 3-1 on the road Tuesday and seeing one of the program's longest tenured players reach a milestone in the process.
Senior setter Ruthie Forson, who's only been playing the position since the 2018 campaign, tallied her 1,000th assist in the match, blowing by the 19 helpers she needed to reach the plateau with a 43-assist night.
Forson, who said she had only a loose idea of how close she was to the milestone, was celebrated by her teammates, coaches and fans with a special shirt worn by head coach Kristinn Holbrooks and "1K" signs distributed to among the traveling Lake Dallas crowd. With just one assist to go, Holbrooks called a timeout, revealing the shirt from underneath a zip-up jacket as fans waved the signs and cheered Forson toward the final assist in the chase for 1,000.
A second-set kill from sophomore Caelyn Gunn later, and she had it.
"I knew I was somewhat close, but I had no idea," said Forson, who admitted that she's excited to move on and get back to just playing volleyball with the mark behind her. "It meant a lot. I think, once it happened, I was in such a shock, but it meant a lot to me."
Holbrooks, in her first year at the helm of the program, said Forson is the most selfless player she's ever coached.
"I could not ask for (more). The best part about her is she had no idea that she was that close. She's the kid that never asks, 'What are my stats?' ... You can praise her and you can hold her accountable," she said. "She's just amazing."
On the floor, Holbrooks said the win, which came by way of 25-13, 25-10 and 25-16 set wins sandwiched around a 25-22, third-set victory for the Lady Bengals, was a much-needed bounce back from that defeat at the hands of the Lady Cougars Friday. It propelled the Lady Falcons to 6-3 in District 8-5A with three matches, all on the road, to play.
Still, old demons cropped up in that third frame, as the Lady Falcons' serve-receive game crumbled in the narrow set loss.
"In the third set, our serve-receive tanked," Holbrooks said. "We talked about how every team that's ever beaten us, it's been because of our serve-receive. We're stacked with hitters, so if we can get the ball in our setter's hands instead of her platform, we're golden. So that was our thing. We're in control of our destiny."
Forson added five kills to her 40-plus assist effort, while Gunn led the program with 19 kills in the win. Juniors Candace Collier and Lanie Schantz also had strong showings, collecting 12 and nine kills, respectively.
The Lady Falcons are part of a four-team grouping that appears locked for the postseason, as undefeated Denton, Justin Northwest and the aforementioned Lady Cougars will likely join the Lady Falcons in the dance.
While the rest of the conference's results have all but handed Denton a second-straight district title regardless of how the Lady Broncos finish, Holbrooks said the rematch with the program is certainly circled on the Lady Falcons' calendar.
"It's a pride thing for us," she said. "We talked about how we overcame a lot when we beat Northwest. Denton, clearly, they're going to get first place no matter what, but we talked about how there are so many deserving teams in this district. If we can be the team that even pulls off an upset and upsets that perfect record, that's our goal right now. ... They feel like it's their time, and that's our focus."
Lake Dallas will next travel to take on Little Elm Friday before enjoying its final league bye Tuesday, which will lead the program into Oct. 25's matchup with the Lady Broncos. The Lady Falcons will then close 8-5A play with an Oct. 29 matchup at Denton Ryan.
"I think we just need to take it one match at a time," Forson said. "I think just going into (every match) with energy and communication is going to help us the most."