After a busy weekend of six scrimmages in two days, Stephenville opens its 2012 volleyball campaign - its first as a member of Class 3A - at 4A Burleson Tuesday night.
It's a familiar foe, points out Stephenville head coach Fran Metzger, and one that has provided a solid season-opening opponent for years.
"We've gone back and forth with them and they usually have a good team," said Metzger. "It's certainly not a 'gimme' game, and that's good because I don't want any of those. We're going to have to go in there and play, and when it's over we'll have a good idea where we're at and what we need to work on."
Metzger identified areas of concern after Friday's scrimmages against Aledo, Abilene Cooper and Abilene Wylie, and said the team addressed them well in Saturday's scrimmage action against Northwest, Cleburne and Birdville.
"Serving-wise we were much tougher Saturday. We served tough against Wylie and Cooper Friday, but against Aledo we were serving to the middle of the floor and you can't do that against them. They were in control of the offense the whole time," she explained. "On Saturday we served away from the middle and we served more aggressively."
Metzger said Kristin Kaiser, a 4A all-state outside hitter who suffered a torn ACL last season, has been impressive in her return.
"I'm very impressed with her ability to jump even with the brace on," she said. "She smoked the floor with one against Birdville. If the brace wasn't there you would have no idea she's coming off a knee injury."
The middle blocker tandem of Natalie Tiner and Dani Huckabee has also been a strong point.
"We blocked really well on Saturday. Natalie and Dani both did a good job," she said. "A lot of their quick offense just couldn't get by. I told the girls teams will tip a lot on us because of that, and we would have to transition to the tip. We did a pretty good job of that."
Metzger said service receive and better initial passing are where she sees the most immediate avenues of improvement.
"We still need to work on our service receive, and our first passes need to be tighter so we can get the offense set up," she said. "But I'm excited about how we look for the start of the year."
First serve Tuesday is set for 6:30 p.m. with sub-varsity games starting at 5:30 p.m.
After visiting Burleson, the Honeybees travel to Abilene for tournament play Friday and Saturday. Their home opener is Tuesday, Aug. 21 against Abilene Wylie.
Follow Brad Keith and the Honeybees' season opener on Twitter @etsports