Defenders shine digging shots while freshman impresses up front

SHS welcomes Burleson for season opener Tuesday

Early in the season, retiring Stephenville volleyball head coach Fran Metzger was hearing from coaches of 5A and 6A tournament opponents how impressed they were with her libero. District 8-4A coaches were also impressed, voting for Martin as district co-defensive player of the year. || Photo by THE FLASH TODAY


STEPHENVILLE (August 7, 2017) — Stephenville head coach Fran Metzger said in a preseason interview she expected defense to anchor her 23rd Honeybee volleyball team. In preseason scrimmages Friday and Saturday, the Bees proved her correct.

But what the only head coach in Stephenville volleyball history did not expect, was to be talking about a freshman on the varsity before the first serve of the first serve of the regular season.

Meet Jaydi Griffin. You might as well get to know the 6-foot tall ninth grader, because if her performance in Gatesville Saturday is any indication, Griffin’s sub-varsity days are over. Even before they ever begun.

We moved her up to the varsity to help us against bigger hitters and she did a great job, I was very impressed,” said Metzger on Monday. “She’s been a middle blocker, but I played her outside and she did very well. She definitely provided what we were needing – a quality hitter with size.”

So expect to see Griffin in the rotation Tuesday, for the varsity not the junior varsity or freshmen, when Stephenville has its traditional season opener against Burleson, which Metzger knows is never easy.

“Burleson is always tough and has always been a good first match for us,” said the head coach, who is entering her 36th year coaching and 40th teaching.

First serve Tuesday is expected about 7 p.m., possibly earlier, with sub-varsity play beginning at 5:30 in Gandy Gym.

The Bees faced Gatesville, usually a tough out in the 4A playoffs, as well as 5A Temple and 6A Killeen Shoemaker Saturday, after meeting two 5A’s – Abilene Cooper and Fort Worth Paschall – at home on Friday.

“We were digging the ball very well and even dug some tough shots, which doesn’t surprise me. I expected our defense to be strong because we have some good athletes back there and they already have experience at this level.

“Jayci Morton played well in the middle for us,” Metzger noted of the converted outside hitter. “She hurt her ankle in practice last Wednesday, but it hasn’t seemed to slow her down.”

Stephenville won last season’s opener at Burleson in four sets. Burleson won in five sets at Stephenville in the 2015 opener.



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