By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (October 9, 2015) — There was no letting up by Stephenville (19-19, 4-0) after seizing sole possession of first place in the 6-4A district race last week then enjoying bye earlier this week.
No deceleration whatsoever.
Seven days after tripping up nemesis Abilene Wylie, Stephenville was in full throttle mode with rival Brownwood visiting Gandy Gym. The Honeybees scored eight of the first 10 points to begin the match and never looked back, trailing only for a brief couple moments in the second set of a 25-15, 25-21, 25-20 win.
Senior middle and Northwestern State (La.) pledge Kourtney Seaton landed nine kills and three blocks to lead Stephenville, while senior outside hitter Kaleigh Conger produced eight kills, seven digs and two blocks. Kerstin Fredrickson and Mikayla Hobbs added five kills each and Hobbs also had 13 digs.
Taylor Garber and Chelsea Gillespie split the setting duties with 14 assists each while libero Kylee Ponder led in digs with 14.
Seaton helped set the tempo with two early blocks and a kill, combining with three Brownwood errors to fuel an 8-2 start. It was 17-7 by the time senior setter Chelsea Gillespie aced a Stephenville serve, and the teams split the final 16 points of the set.
The second set was more competitive with Brownwood grabbing a brief edge as late as 19-18.
Stephenville quickly righted its ship with a kill by Stilwell and an ace by Ponder before Brownwood tied it at 20-20. A side out gave Stephenville the serve and the lead before a kill by Hobbs and block by Seaton made it 23-20. Hobbs won it moments later by acing her serve on set point.
A Seaton kill and Hobbs ace began a third set, but even after trailing 3-0, Brownwood formed a response to tie it at 6-6.
But back-to-back attack errors and a net penalty against Brownwood put Stephenville back on top and a stuff by Nicona Stilwell gave the Honeybees a more commanding 10-6 edge.
Brownwood inched within 11-9 before three straight attack errors put Stephenville right back in control, up 14-9. Ultimately, a kill by Stilwell forced Brownwood to call its final tmeout with the score sitting at 21-15, and it grew to 23-15 on a block by Kerstin Fredrickson.
A kill by Hobbs brought up match point, but a dip in intensity allowed Brownwood to hang around four more serves before the inevitable finally ended.
The Honeybees led by at least four the rest of the way, cruising to their fourth straight win and evening their season record after facing a brutal early slate. The victory completed the first half of district play, with Graham visiting Stephenville for “Pink Out Night” at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Metzger, who has more than 600 career wins, likes where her team stands.
“We started fast tonight. Our service receive broke down some in the second set, and our intensity wasn’t as huh as it was at the start, but we’re playing pretty well,” said Metzger. “Graham is improving every time out and has turned some heads in our district so we have to be ready on Tuesd