With head coach Fran Metzger making out the schedule, Stephenville will never be short of playoff-quality opponents.
Metzger makes sure of that, whether it’s a match opponent or a friendly scrimmage foe she’s looking for.
On Friday, the reasons for such scheduling were crystal clear.
Stephenville hosted a four-team scrimmage with Abilene, Aledo and Abilene Wylie, giving the Honeybees an early look at teams that reached at least the second round of the state playoffs - Abilene in 5A, Aledo in 4A and Wylie in 3A - in 2009.
“You can explain over and over again what a good team is going to do against you, but until the girls face it there is no good way to prepare for it,” Metzger said.
That philosophy has been the staple of Metzger’s schedule-making for the last several years, and it’s a big part of why the Bees have reached the post season 13 of the last 14 seasons. They are always prepared when district play rolls around.
“We have four sophomores who are making the big leap from JV to varsity,” she said. “The game is so much faster at the varsity level, and the girls have to see that early to be ready for it.”
Kristin Kaiser certainly looked ready. Kaiser, one of the sophomores, was the Bees’ most impressive hitter against Aledo Friday, leaving Metzger decisions to make concerning the rotation.
“Kaiser plays left front and so does Brooklyn Moody,” Metzger pointed out. “They can also both set, but we have Sheridan (Stokes) at setter. We’re still trying to settle on a regular rotation, so we have some confusion right now.”
Moody, a senior, was also a force at the net, and Stokes, another sophomore, is playing setter and front right hitter. The other sophomores are six-foot middle blocker Natalie Tiner and Dani Huckabee, another versatile player who can rotate between setter and outside hitter.
The Bees struggled at times - especially against Aledo - in the middle.
“They had a really good middle blocker and she caused some problems for us,” Metzger said. “Our young girls haven’t really seen hitting like that, so it was good for them. Kaylee Davis has faced hitting like that before, she’s just still getting back into the flow of things.”
Stephenville traveled to Birdville for another multi-team scrimmage Saturday. It was the host Lady Hawks who eliminated the Honeybees in the area round of the playoffs last fall.
The regular seasons begins Tuesday with a trip to Burleson, another 5A playoff qualifier from a year ago. Burleson dropped to 4A in the bi-ennial UIL realignment.