Stephenville reached the 20-win mark Friday night, and continued to keep pace in the District 8-4A playoff race by knocking off host Joshua 25-14, 25-17, 20-25, 25-17.

Stephenville improved to 20-13 on the season and 6-3 in District 8-4A, staying side-by-side with Granbury for third place in the league. Joshua is now reeling and all but eliminated from the playoff race with a 2-7 league mark.

The Honeybees had to once again overcome the absence of senior defensive specialist Macy Moncrief to get the win. Moncrief missed a second straight contest due to illness.

“I had to change up the lineup some and we had some mistakes and some communication errors because of that,” Stephenville head coach Fran Metzger said. “But I was proud of the girls for coming together and taking care of buisness.”

The Honeybees won despite several mishaps in each of the first two games.

“We gave away four or five points in both the first two games on errors but found a way to win,” Metzger said. “Then Joshua got on a roll and played pretty well in the third game and we just didn’t have an answer.”

Metzger knew she wanted no part of a decisive game five on the road.

“I told the girls after the third game we needed to take care of business,” she said. “In this district everyone is good enough at controlling and passing the ball that they can get on a roll if you keep making mistakes. We needed to get the win in the fourth game.”

And they did, thanks mostly to a strong hitting performance by senior Christina Murphy, one of the area’s all-classifications kills leaders.

“Christina was finishing with a lot of power in the fourth, that was the main thing,” Metzger said. “That and we communicated better and closed the block off better. We corrected a lot of the things that went wrong in the earlier games.”

The Bees host Crowley at Gandy Gym on Friday, with sub-varsity matches beginning at 5 p.m.