HALLETTSVILLE - A gaggle of boys ran into the gym just in time to watch a frenetic conclusion.
For an hour, they had been busy tossing a football outside. But as Tuesday's volleyball match between Hallettsville and Schulenburg neared its end the home team needed every voice they could to spur them on.
Hallettsville cut a 10-point Game 3 deficit to 20-19 when the they ran in. Schulenburg's India Connor got the kill, foreshadowing for the future.
The Lady Brahmas (22-10, 5-2) took a brief lead in Game 3, but it wasn't enough to stop the visitors from leaving with a 25-18, 25-23, 28-26 win.
Connor had three more kills in Game 3, including the match clincher. The senior middle blocker finished with eight kills, three digs and a block.
Tuesday's loss snapped a five-game district win streak for Hallettsville. Meanwhile, Schulenburg (24-9, 6-1) maintained a tie for first in District 28-2A with Poth.
"They've always beat us. We know we have the competition to go against them. Whenever we do go (against them) we get tied in a knot and we can't push through," said Hallettsville junior outside hitter Cassidy Targac.
Hallettsville tied Game 1 at 10. Schulenburg went on a 7-2 run to take control.
The Lady Horns led 16-7 and 20-13 in Game 2, before Targac, Madison Schindler and ignited the Hallettsville offense. Targac finished with five kills and 10 digs, while Schindler led her team with six kills and seven assists from the setter position.
The Lady Brahmas, and their crowd, would have exploded had they found a way to tie the second game. They never got the chance.
Schulenburg hit through Runnels' block attempt to give the Lady Horns a 24-22 lead. Two points later, a quick set from Shannon Mikesky - one that mirrored her most recent pass - landed in the middle of the Hallettsville defense to end the game.
Tuesday's final game featured seven lead changes, five of which were after the group of boys lent their vocal support to the Lady Brahmas.
Targac and senior middle blocker Sha'Tiara Runnels said the Lady Brahmas seem to play better against teams they haven't faced. Schulenburg certainly doesn't fit in that category.
Donald Zapalac's team has handed Hallettsville both its district losses this season, as well as an August tournament loss.
Connor said the Lady Horns have worked together and it showed Tuesday night. She added her team is communicating more on court, and is improving on its blocking and passing. Shannon Mikesky had 35 assists, and the team had six blocks on the night.
Freshman Bay Guentert led Schulenburg with 11 kills, she also had nine digs.
"That's what we've been since over the last two weeks," Zapalac said. "The game is slowing down for her.I thought she was tremendous early. Shannon (Mikesky) and I were talking about it earlier. I think (Bay) hit .800 early."
Schulenburg jumped out to early leads in all three games. The home team, fresh off a historic victory over Poth Sept. 28, tightened things in the second and third games, but couldn't manage a second straight upset.
Runnels said her team was optimistic entering Tuesday's match after upsetting the Pirettes in five games. Before that match on Friday, Poth had not lost a district volleyball match since 2002.
Runnels and Targac said they were unaware of the milestone until well after the contest when volleyball players from other communities notified them.
"We had a lot of confidence going into this game," said Runnels, who had four kills and five digs. "We couldn't pull it out, but I know our season will get better and better."
The last time Hallettsville lost to Schulenburg, in four games on Sept. 4, the Lady Brahmas won five straight district contests. Karen Darilek and her team believe they might have another such run in them, as they enter the second half of district play.
"We're playing a lot better together this year. We have more of a connection," Targac said.
Runnels completing the thought added: "In each game we're picking up off the success of our previous game."