By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (October 7, 2016) — When Taylor Garber unleashed one of her trademark left-handed kill shots for match point, Stephenville could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
The Honeybees overcame a big deficit in the third set and held off a late Godley rally in the fourth to win, 25-19, 20-25, 25-20, 25-22, at Gandy Gym Friday.
Stephenville is almost a lock to finish in the top two of 8-4A after a district sweep of Godley. The Honeybees visit Alvarado Tuesday then take their shot at trying to tie Glen Rose at the top of the standings when they visit the Lady Tigers next Friday.
Garber, Nicona Stilwell and Jayci Morton took turns dominating stretches of the match, and the numbers reflect as much. Garber had 29 assists, eight kills, seven digs and a pair of aces, while Stilwell landed 15 kills, made eight digs and blocked three shots. Morton had nine kills, two digs and two blocks.
Godley finished used a 16-2 run over the end of the second and beginning of the third sets, climbing out of a 19-16 deficit in the second and jumping out to a 7-2 lead in the third.
But Stephenville dominated the rest of the match, beginning with a kill by Morton to pull within 11-7 in the third. An ace by Hailey Martin and a kill by Stilwell evened it up at 13-13, then Martin served up another ace for the first Honeybee lead of the seer. Godley tied it again before a Stilwell tip and Garber ace made it 16-14.
Godley event it up again at 19-19 before a kill by Emily Brandon then back-to-back kills by Morton for a 22-19 advantage. Brandon, who had five kills and three blocks, eventually killed set point to give Stephenville a crucial 2-1 advantage heading to the fourth.
Godley dug itself an early hole with four straight errors to begin the fourth, and Stephenville made it 5-0 on a Stilwell kill. The Bees led three times by seven – 12-5 following an ace by Hannah Huckabee and 18-11 and 20-13 following Godley errors – but the Lady Wildcats wouldn’t go down easily.
Godley closed it to 23-19 before a kill Brandon brought up by match point, then the Lady Wildcats scored twice more to make everyone in the crowd a bit anxious before the southpaw Garber ended matters.
Martin made 21 digs for Stephenville and Huckabee tallied a double-double with 12 assists and 11 digs.
The match at Alvarado Tuesday begins about 6 p.m. following a 5 p.m. junior varsity contest.