For the first time in a long time, excitement during a volleyball game was tangible in Brookfield High School on Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs lost in straight sets at home to Penney, 25-23, 25-23, and both sets required late comebacks to put them as close as they were.
Penney has five wins on the season.
Brookfield played from ahead to begin both sets, carrying a lead as deep as the 11th point in the second, 11-10. The Bulldogs' services cost them, as an error ended the first set and a side-out put the ball in Penney's hands late in the second.
Senior libero Kimi Tran-Turner said that her team is built to move forward, despite missed opportunities.
"We've been working so hard, especially seniors, to put everything into every game," Tran-Turner said. "We need that fire, and the next game, we'll have it. I've never seen a group of girls this determined before. We've learned to talk, and we've learned to move our feet."
Brookfield has a tough road ahead, travelling to the Carrolton tournament on Saturday before hosting Hannibal on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs aren't shaken entering their home stretch, and Brookfield coach Jaclyn Burns has no doubts about her unit moving forward.
"These girls have really learned to play together and focus on the team," Burns said. "Some of those rallies, we won because of our hustle. At the beginning of the season, it would drop, and we'd blame each other. We'ere making way better decisions, and it's just up from here.
"To lose by two twice is gut-wrenching, but we are so close to getting some wins."