By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (August 8. 2017) — Fran Metzger said in a preseason interview with The Flash Today one thing she knew about her team was they would be very scrappy.
Their strongest senior leader, libero Hailey Martin, defined scrappy when she chased what appeared to be a dead ball and a Burleson point, saving it with a bump at the end of a dead sprint a moment before catching her self on the metal railing in front of a section of the home bleachers at Gandy Gym Tuesday.
The Bees won that point, and any inkling of doubt as to the outcome disappeared. Stephenville began celebrating, while Burleson looked ready to load the bus.
Stephenville won in four sets for the second straight year between foes who have met regularly for at least a decade on the first Tuesday of the season. After an error-filled first-set loss by the Bees, this one was never close at 16-25, 25-18, 25-16, 25-16.
It was the second straight win in what has traditionally back and forth season opener between these two. Burleson won two seasons ago in five sets and Stephenville took last year’s opener in four. The Lady Elks are coached by Tarleton State alumna D’Anna Dingler, a past TexAnn basketball player.
“It took a set to get everybody calmed down. We let our nerves get to us in the first set and had too many errors,” said Metzger, the only head coach the Honeybee program has known as it begins its 23rd season. “Jayci (Morton) was really good against their middle blocker, I thought Chloe Goodman was strong and our defense was good. I didn’t like the first set, but overall, I think we are where we expected to be.”
In her debut at middle blocker after converting from outside hitter, Morton racked up seven kills, eight digs and four total blocks, two of them solo. Goodman was also strong all around from her outside hitter position, finishing with nine kills, six digs and a block. Martin was the other statistical leader with two of the team’s three aces and 44 digs, an average of 11 per set.
The offense was quarterbacked primarily by setter Hannah Huckabee with Gabbie Lucero also performing well in that role. Ashton Garner made six kills and Salette Rios five.
Stephenville has tournament action ahead, and as long as Metzger controls the schedule, the early tourneys will never be easy. The Bees area headed to Round Rock for for action Thursday through Saturday at Westwood High School and return home next Tuesday, August 15, to face Abilene Cooper.