By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (August 15, 2017) — An error-filled first set forced Stephenville (6-5) to play from behind all evening in a four-set loss to 5A Abilene Cooper Tuesday at Gandy Gym.
Cooper capitalized on the early Stephenville miscues and was too far ahead when the Honeybees tried to rally with three straight points trimming the Lady Cougar lead 24-18. The second set was tighter, but Cooper held on to place the Bees behind the proverbial 8-ball.
The match got closer as the night went on, and it looked as if Stephenville may force a decisive short set when leading the fourth 19-18. They had a previously staved off the Lady Cougars’ best efforts for a road sweep by hanging on to win in the third, but weren’t as fortunate down the stretch in the fourth. Cooper closed on a 8-5 rally to seal its victory that went 25-18, 25-22, 24-26, 26-24.
Stephenville was paced by junior outside hitter Chloe Goodman with 14 kills and junior middle Jayci Morton with 12. There were nine kills added by Ashton Garner and eight by Salette Rios, but the Bees were inconsistent along the front line and hit just .100 with 47 kills and 28 hitting errors on 185 total attacks.
Goodman and Morton each added six solo blocks and Morton had a seventh of the assisted variety. Hailey Martin racked up more than eight digs per set for a total of 34, and Hannah Huckabee collected 17 digs and 16 assists.
Gabie Lucero led the team in assists with 20 and Kristen Pettit made 11 digs while Garner and Goodman added six digs and five, respectfully, to their stat lines.
The Bees won’t travel near as far for tournament play this week. They were in Round Rock and Leander last week, and spend this Thursday through Saturday making the short trek to and from Granbury.