By BRAD KEITH
STPEHENVILLE (October 20, 2015) — Stephenville honored its seniors before their final home match, then went out and made it a night to truly remember.
In the biggest win of their Stephenville careers, it was the seniors, several of which have been on the varsity team since they were sophomores, who finally led the Honeybees to a district title over Abillene Wylie.
Wylie defeated Stephenville in a Region I-3A final in 2012 and swept its regular season matches from the Honeybees for the district title in 6-4A last year.
But not this time. Not on senior night at Gandy Gym.
Stephenville won 26-24, 25-21, 25-20, getting stronger as the match went on before celebrating their third district championship in four years. The Bees won league titles in 2012 and 2013 before redistricting grouped them with Wylie and others last season.
Kourtney Seaton racked up 12 kills, five blocks and two aces from the middle. Kaleigh Conger made eight kills, 10 digs and two blocks while fellow senior Mikayla Hobbs had five kills, seven digs and a pair of aces. Junior Nicona Stilwell added five blocks and two kills.
Senior Chelsea Gillespie doubled up with 18 assists and matched libero Kylee Ponder for the team lead with 14 digs.
Stephenville is idle Friday and looks to close out a perfect run through 6-4A next Tuesday when they visit Brownwood.
Here’s what Stephenville head coach Fran Metzger had to say about the win, Wylie and the 6-4A title:
The first set was a back-and-forth battle from the start with Stephenville scoring five straight for a 5-2 lead and Wylie answering right back for an 8-7 advantage.
Wylie eventually led 14-11 and was on top by three again as late as 22-19 before a Stephenville surge keyed by a Seaton kill for a 24-23 lead. Wylie ultimately committed a hitting error, striking the ball long and out of bounds to give Stephenville an early lead in the match that would never be relinquished.
Stephenville grabbed an early second-set lead and never looked back on its way to seizing control of the match. Wylie managed to close its deficit to two late in the set, but back-to-back kills by Emily Brandon and Seaton made it 21-17 and the teams traded points until Stephenville obtained its two-set lead.
The third set was even at 13-13 before a Seaton kill gave Stephenville the last advantage it would need. Hobbs then served up four straight points, making it 18-13. Wylie did score four of the next six to force a Stephenville timeout with a 20-17 lead, but the Bees were never threatened down the stretch.
Kerstin Fredrickson unloaded a kill from the left side for 21-17. Then there was a Wylie attack error and kill to make it 22-18. A block by Wylie cut it to 22-19, but again the Bulldogs could get no closer. Wylie hit one long and out of bounds to bring Stephenville within two points of the league title.
Wyle was within three again after a Stephenville hitting error to end the most exciting – and longest – volley of the night, then Nicona Stilwell stabbed a kill shot on a set from Gillespie to bring up match point before Wylie helped with the winner and the Honeybeee celebration began.