By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (October 13, 2015) — Stephenville struggled early, but by the end of the evening were alone out in front in the 6-4A district championship race.
The Honeybees (20-19, 5-0) dropped the opening set, but won out from there for the victory, 22-25, 26-24, 25-18, 25-14, on their Pink Out Night at Gandy Gym. The team sold shirts and the school accepted donations for entry with all proceeds going to SHS teacher Laura Esquibel, who was diagnosed last spring with cancer.
Senior middle Kourtney Seaton racked up 18 kills, four aces, four blocks and five digs. Kaleigh Conger and Kerstin Fredrickson each had nine kills, and Conger also tallied 19 digs and three aces. The Honeybees aced 10 serves as a team.
Mikayla Hobbs contributed seven kills and 13 digs, while Niconal Stilwell added five kills and a two blocks. Chelsea Gillespie made 26 assists and Taylor Garber 20. Kylee Ponder totaled 26 digs.
After splitting the opening two sets, Stephenville used a run of six straight points to seize the lead for good in the second set. Kaleigh Conger served for the majority of the run that put the Honeybees up 12-10. Stephenville continued to slowly pull away, winning the set on a kill by Mikayla Hobbs.
The fourth set was a mere formality after Stephenville jumped on top 18-10 on the strength of back-to-back missiles launched by Seaton. Graham scored the next two but could only delay the inevitable. Chelsea Gillespie stopped the brief rally with a dump that surprised all the Graham players for a 19-12 lead, and Graham called the final timeout of the match.
A Conger ace ultimately brought up match point before a Graham attack error ended it.
Before Stephenville could dominate, the Honeybees first had to come back. Down a set and trailing 6-3 in the second, they did just that, though it wasn’t easy.
Stephenville rallied ahead 12-10 and was ultimately in front 20-14 before committing a bevy of errors that fueled a 10-4 Graham run, tying the set at 24-24. But the Bees scored the final two, winning on a Graham attack error.
The opening set was a struggle from the onset with Graham jumping on top 10-5. Stephenville closed the gap to 20-19, but that was as close as the Bees would get.
Stephenville continues striving for a perfect 6-4A mark when the Bees visit Mineral Wells on Friday. A win there would mean an opportunity to clinch the district title outright when Abilene Wylie comes to Gandy Gym next Tuesday.
TheFlashToday.com photos by BRAD KEITH