WHITE SETTLEMENT - Stephenville served up 15 aces and amassed 34 kills in a three-set sweep of Dunbar (25-11, 25-14, 25-16) in the Class 4A Region I Bi-District Playoffs at Brewer High School Tuesday.
The Honeybees, now 22-16, advance to meet District 6-4A champion Aledo in the area round at 8 p.m. Thursday in Granbury. Dunbar, the runner-up from 7-4A, is eliminated.
The 15 aces came with just seven service aces, making it one of the best service matches of the season for Stephenville.
“That definitely makes a big difference,” Stephenville head coach Fran Metzger said of her team’s success in the service game. “It takes them off their passing and keeps them from getting the ball up front to their hitters.”
Juniors Rachel Choate and Mara Christian and sophomore Kaylee Davis paced the service attack with three aces each.
Stephenville, the co-runner-up and No.3 seed from 8-4A, also stepped up defensively, holding Dunbar to only two aces.
“We’ve been working on our service-receive game and the girls really stepped it up tonight,” Metzger said. “We’ll have to step it up again on Thursday against Aledo.”
Stephenville was just as dominant at the net where Christina Murphy had 13 kills, including three straight during the third set, which she ended with her final kill for match point. Davis added seven kills to go with her serving prowess.
The sophomore middle blocker served 11 straight times during the third set. Dunbar had just taken its latest lead of any set at 10-8 before one of Bailey Williams’ five kills pulled the Bees back to within one and put the ball in Davis’ hands. She had two aces during the run, and by the time Dunbar got a sideout on a rare Davis service error, the Wildcats trailed 20-10.
Stephenville needed no such rallies in the first two sets. The Bees scored 10 of the match’s first 14 points before Choate served six straight times, including her first two aces, to put the Lady Wildcats on the ropes.
Game two was much the same. Dunbar did score first and would lead again at 3-2, but the Bees scored seven of the next nine to move ahead, 9-5. The Lady Wildcats cut the deficit to two as late as 13-11, but Christian pulled off a hat trick with three straight aces to open the flood gates.