DENTON - The Lake Dallas volleyball team was once again summarily dismissed from the Class 5A postseason, bowing out in the tournament's first round for the fifth consecutive season.
The Lady Falcons were swept by Boswell at the University of North Texas Tuesday, competing in the final two sets (25-16, 25-19) but ultimately unable to overcome a tone-setting, 25-9 setback in the first frame.
Though head coach Kristinn Holbrooks and the Lady Falcons were confident in their ability to compete with the Lady Pioneers heading into the matchup, that ability was predicated on Lake Dallas having a strong night in its serve-receive game and staying in system.
In the lopsided opening game, the Lady Falcons did largely the opposite.
"You can't beat any team if you can't pass, and we knew going in that serve-receive was going to either make or break us," Holbrooks said. "It broke us tonight. (We passed) .8 (in the first set), and 3.0 is perfection. (With) 2.0, normally, we'll be in system, but we couldn't get in system."
In their final gasp, the Lady Falcons led the decisive third set, 13-9, before allowing a 12-10 run over the remainder of the frame that saw their 2019 campaign come to a close.
Senior Ruthie Forson, who passed 1,000 assists earlier this season, finished her Lady Falcon career with a two-kill, 19-assist night, with her comparatively low helper total emblematic of the Lady Falcons' problems getting their attack going.
Junior Candace Collier and sophomore Caelyn Gunn each finished with nine kills in the team's final 2019 contest.
The game also featured a mid-match change at libero, where probable 2020 setter and junior Karen Melvin gave way to junior McKenna Marrs entering the second set.
"You don't want to make too many changes that will mentally mess up your team or what you're used to," Holbrooks said. "We had it in the back of our mind that, if we did struggle, then we were going to make that change set two and just see if that could help us, and it did. ... Karen's done well stepping into that spot, but she's a setter."
While Holbrooks said she was disappointed with the Lady Falcons' continued failure to advance, overall, she admitted to being most disappointed in seeing Forson's career meet its end.
"It's very hard. That's probably the thing that hurts the most," she said. "She was the first one who bought into everything I've asked them to do. She's the most loyal kid I've ever coached. She's just a selfless, great kid, and it always hurts when you lose someone like that."
Moving forward, Holbrooks said she hopes her program, which featured just a handful of seniors this fall, can build on a third-place finish in District 8-5A and its brief postseason appearance.
More than anything, though, she's excited to bring an end to the coaching carousel that's brought four coaches to Lake Dallas in as many seasons.
"The other day, I brought them in to give them our agendas for today ... All I said was, 'Hey, I need y'all to come have a seat,' and it was like, 'You're quitting, aren't you?'" she said. "I was like, "No. No. I told y'all from day one.' They're so used to it that, having a coach there in the spring, they're all going to end up buying in and being Ruthie Forsons before they leave the program."