HALTOM CITY - Birdville (31-9) rebounded after Stephenville (25-16) won the opening set and eliminated the Honeybees 21-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-19 in a Class 4A Region I area playoff match at Thomas Coliseum Thursday night.
Birdville advances to face either Mansfield Legacy or Denton Guyer in the regional quarterfinals next week.
Stephenville saw its season come to an end despite 23 kills from Christina Murphy and 10 from Bailey Williams, both seniors whose high school careers reached their conclusion. Other seniors for Stephenville were Mara Christian, Macy Moncrief, Rachel Choate and Senna Lasater.
The Lady Hawks recovered from a first set loss in a second game that went back and forth with 14 ties. Stephenville built a three-point lead on four occasions before Birdville recovered with a 4-1 rally - with two of the points coming on Honeybee errors - to tie the score at 13-13.
The points went back and forth with Stephenville taking a lead and Birdville tying it up until the Bees committed back-to-back errors to give the Lady Hawks a 22-21 edge.
A Birdville error evened the score again before a Juarez block put the Lady Hawks back on top. A Davis kill tied it back up at 23-23 before a Christina Juarez block followed by an ace gave the Lady Hawks the set to even the match.
The Lady Hawks rode the momentum of the game two win to a 2-0 lead in game three. Birdville led by three at 7-4 and stretched it to five on three straight Stephenville errors. A Birdville kill then made it 13-7 and the Honeybees never recovered.
The errors continued for Stephenville as the Hawks built an eight point lead at 19-11. The Bees fought back to within five when Williams landed a kill then served an ace, but a Birdville block and yet another Stephenville error pushed the Lady Hawks’ cushion back to seven at 22-15 and the Bees never got closer than four.
It only got worse for Stephenville as Birdville jumped out to a quick 8-3 lead in the decisive fourth game. The Bees closed it to three but the Lady Hawks responded with a 5-0 run that began and ended with Stephenville errors.
The Honeybees pulled within three on two other occasions when Birdville was called for four hits and the score became 16-13, and when a Murphy kill cut it to 17-14 moments later.
It wasn’t meant to be, however, as the Bees could never pull within two points and the Lady Hawks picked up their second straight area title.
Stephenville held the momentum long enough to take the opening set. The Honeybees trailed just once in the first game at 15-16 before scoring five straight - two on Williams kills - to take the lead for good. The Hawks finally got a side out, but Williams immediately struck again to make it 21-17 and keep Stephenville in control.