By BRAD KEITH
ALEDO (November 1, 2016) — Stephenville is sweeping its way back into the area round of the Region I-4A volleyball playoffs.
The Honeybees had their hiccups but mostly sailed past Fort Worth Castleberry, 25-19, 25-11, 25-19, in a bi-district match Tuesday at Aledo High School.
Stephenville faces Abilene Wylie or Iowa Park in the area round. They played the last match of a doubleheader at Graham Tuesday. If Wylie wins, the area-round match will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Eastland High School.
Castleberry took advantage of several passing errors by Stephenville early on, and led the first set as late as 16-15. But Stephenville responded out of a timeout with five straight points, including an ace during a strong service run by sophomore Jayci Morton, to take the lead for good.
The second was never close once the Honeybees made it 11-6. Castleberry got within four for just moments before the Bees pulled away. A kill and ace by Chloe Goodman scored back-to-back points for a 18-9 lead and the Bees continued to dominate down the stretch.
Castleberry led as much as 10-5 in the third, but Jayci Morton served up four consecutive points following a sideout, tying the set at 10-10.
Castleberry led 12-10 following its second ace of the set, and even stretched it to 15-11 before Stephenville called timeout and began to restore order with a back-to-back Castleberry errors.
Faith O’Brien then landed a kill shot before another Castleberry miscue and suddenly it was even at 15-15.
Taylor Garber, senior setter and right side hitter, continued her service run with an ace, and just like that, Stephenville was on top for good.
The Bees scored eight straight to lead 19-15 before a Castleberry timeout and sideout, but the three-point margin was as close as it would get the rest of the way.
Stilwell landed a missile from the middle, Goodman served up an ace and Morton spiked a kill for a 22-16 advantage before Castleberry finally recorded a sideout, and the rest was simply a formality.
Goodman finished with eight kills, eight digs and a pair of aces, while Morton had seven kills, six digs and three aces. They are both sophomores.
Garber collected 15 assists, five digs, three kills, an ace and a block, while Stilwell and Emily Brandon each landed six kills and Hailey Martin made 14 digs.