BY RUSSELL HUFFMAN
Stephenville used a more sophisticated attack at the net and it paid off in a big way with a three-set Area championship victory over Graham in Jacksboro Thursday night.
In its bi-district win, the honeybees tried a physical attack at the net but switched to power and finesse against the Lady Blues.
“Yes, we did switch things up and I think it paid off in a big way with a more balanced offense,” Coach Shay Douglas said. “Our serve and receive were on point tonight.”
The Honeybees broke open a tight first set and outpaced the Lady Blues 25-15 and kept the pressure on in the second set with a 25-14 win. Every time it looked like the Lady Blues would get their offense moving the Stephenville defenders were there to shut it down.
On offense, Stephenville slowed down its attack with more disciplined high percentage kill attempts that found their way inside the lines for points.
“We were able to deliver the ball from our setters a lot better tonight,” Douglas said. “That first round is just always so nerve racking so this felt a whole lot better. We gained a whole lot of confidence from Tuesday night.”
By the time the third set rolled around the writing was already on the wall that Stephenville was going to advance. Graham made it closer with a strong rally late in the set, but it was still all Bees 25-20.
The Honeybees will face the winner of the Decatur and Greenwood match which is being played tonight.
“We are going to do some scouting just like they did us tonight,” Douglas said. “Then come back and prepare for another round.”
Alle McClendon led Stephenville attackers with 10 kills, while Chloe Goodman had eight and Jaydi Griffin had seven and Salette Rios had five.
Gabie Lucero came up with 22 digs, and Jayci Morton recorded 13, Hanna Huckabee (7) Karlee Easterling (7) and Goodman (6)
Griffin recorded two blocks while McClendon, Morton and Withers had one each.