By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (August 29, 2017) — If it’s not the highest combined scoring match in the 23-year history of Stephenville volleyball, it has to be close.
Stephenville erased a 2-0 deficit with back-to-back two-point victories, then lost by, you guessed it, two in the fifth. The second set even had a two-point margin in what ended as a Granbury win by the count of 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 24-26, 16-14. All combined, Granbury out scored Stephenville 113-108 for 221 points between the neighbors, who of late – since enrollment sent Stephenville down one rung on the UIL conference ladder – have been rivals based more on proximity that allows for frequent meetings. Oh, and Stephenville head coach Fran Metzger once was the coach at Granbury. Ditto for Stephenville assistant coach Patti Williams, as she has donned purple and traversed 30 miles to GHS for employment before, as well.
Put it all together and one must wonder, where were the television cameras?
In the end, it goes down as another step forward for each team just for experiencing such a battle. That’s especially true for Stephenville, having shown the scrappiness Metzger has said her team would be known for all season. Many times, competitive first two sets or not, teams trailing 2-0 don’t get out of the third set except through the back door of the gym with a loss already stamped onto that line of the schedule.
Of course, the Honeybees aren’t an ordinary team. They have been in such battles – although certainly not many to this extent – and Metzger has made them grow accustomed to playing larger schools.
At this point of the season, when the bulk of teams’ matches have been of the best 2-of-3 tournament variety, a five-set marathon set the stage for some career numbers. Ashton Garner, for example, went on the attack a career-high 52 times, landing a career-best 14 kills. She also notched a career-best three aces and made seven digs.
Jayci Morton was, well, Jayci Morton, continuing to shine in her first varsity season in the middle after two playing left side. On 42 attacks, Morton registered 11 kills, and defensively she collected five solo blocks. She also served 17 times without a service error and made two digs. Her classmate, right side junior Chloe Goodman, landed eight kills and also knocked down an impressive eight solo blocks with 10 total.
Five Honeybees reached double figures in digs, led by senior libero Hailey Martin with 27. Gabie Lucero added 15 to go with 14 assists while serving 18 times with no errors and an ace. Hannah Huckabee split time setting with Lucero and also doubled up, tallying 17 assists and 12 digs. Huckabee aced one of14 serves without an error.
Maren Isham dug 12 balls, Kristen Pettit 10 and Salette Rios 10 to go with four kills and five blocks, four of them solo.
Stephenville had 29 total blocks without a blocking error, an exceedingly rare final count. The Honeybees also collected 100 total digs and aced seven serves. But they also posted a hitting percentage of just .030, committing 33 hitting errors accompanied by three service errors and 45 di
100 digs and aced seven serves, but finished with just a .030 attack percentage up front. They committed 33 hitting errors and 45 receive errors totaling 81 total errors.
The Bees’ schedule online says “no game” in bright red letters for Friday, and fittingly so. They have been in tournaments in Round Rock, Granbury and Leander the past three weekends, with home Tuesday matches in between. They have their first Tuesday road trip next week, as they take on West on September 5. The match begins about 6 p.m. following a 5 p.m. junior varsity contest.