BURLESON - Stepehnville (25-15) is on to the area round of the Class 4A Region I volleyball playoffs for the ninth straight year after a 25-16, 25-14, 25-15 sweep of Fort Worth Arlington Heights (22-10) at Burleson High School Tuesday night.
The Honeybees face either Denton or Birdville on Thursday at a site to be announced today (check the Web at empiretribune.com for all pertinent information), while Arlington Heights saw its season end in the bi-district round for the 14th straight season.
Senior outside hitter/setter Christina Murphy amassed 13 kills, an average of 4.33 per set. She had five in each of the first two games and three in the third.
Arlington Heights threatened to keep the opening set close when an ace closed its deficit to 13-10, but Stephenville answered with three quick points to stretch the advantage to six.
Heights got no closer than five the rest of the set and the Bees finished it off with back-to-back kills by Bailey Williams.
Williams, a senior middle blocker, recorded 12 kills in the match, including six in the second set alone when her and Murphy were especially dominant at the net.
Stephenville jumped out to a 4-0 lead in set two, and after consecutive Arlington Heights points, used another 3-0 spurt to make it 7-2. Moments later Williams had a block and kill followed by an ace from Mara Christian and the rout was on with the Bees ahead 12-4.
Another 3-0 Stephenville run later in the set made it 19-9 before the Bees outscored the Lady Yellowjackets 6-5 the rest of the way.
Kensie Colegrove served up a pair of aces and Williams added another to put Stephenville in control with a 7-3 advantage early in the third set.
A pair of Honeybee errors and a penalty gave the Lady Yellowjackets momentary life as their deficit shrunk to three, but they committed a penalty of their own before a Stephenville kill jumped the advantage back to five.
Heights moved within four just once moments later before Stephenville took over with three more Murphy kills, two kills by Williams and the fourth block by junior Kaylee Davis, who ended the match with her fifth kill of the night.
It wasn't all roses for Stephenville, which committed 15 hitting errors and allowed six aces. But head coach Fran Metzger was pleased with her team's ninth straight bi-district victory.
"I was pleased with the way the girls focused," Metzger said. "Sometimes coming off a high like our win over Granbury (in a Disrict 8-4A seeding contest), it's hard to match the same level of intensity, but we did a good job."