Stephenville was already sweet; now it's great.
The Honeybees advanced from the Sweet 16 to the Great 8 in by erasing a two-set deficit to knock off Lubbock Cooper 18-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 15-10 in a marathon 3A Region I semifinal at The Coliseum Saturday afternoon.
The Honeybees, winners of 18 straight, meet No. 1 Abilene Wylie, a three-set winner over Springtown in the earlier semifinal, in the regional championship match at 3 p.m. Saturday, also at The Coliseum.
"I never stopped believing in us," said Stephenville senior middle blocker Natalie Tiner, a dominant force at the net throughout the match. "We just had to keep thinking positively and focus on each point, and that's what we did. This has been an amazing season and this is an amazing team. We don't want it to end; that's why we fought all the way to the end."
Stephenville dropped the first two sets then appeared on the brink of elimination when it was 12-4 Cooper in the third. But the Bees took over from there, outscoring Cooper 61-39 the rest of the way.
Tiner, Kristin Kaiser and Dani Huckabee all had 10 kills while Brooke Harvick added eight and Sheridan Stokes had five. Chrislyn Wells had 21 assists and Tiara Green added 18.
Huckabee aced six serves and Stephenville had 10 aces for the match.
Kaiser had 19 digs, Huckabee tallied 11, Wells and Stokes tallied 10 each and Tiner had nine.
Wylie defeated Stephenville twice early in the season, once in a best-of-three tournament match and once in regulation in the Honeybees' only home loss of the season. Wylie is the only 3A team to defeat Stephenville this fall.
"I believe we can do it, we just have to look at them the same as any other team. We watched them and we know were they hit and how they play," Tiner said. "We can beat Wylie."