Burleson got its revenge on Stephenville Tuesday night, defeating the Honeybees in four sets in both team's season opener at Gandy Gym 10 months after the Bees eliminated the Lady Elks in the bi-district round of last season's 4A state playoffs.
The Lady Elks posted a .379 hitting percentage to Stephenville's .118 and won 25-21, 25-15, 17-25, 25-21.
Stephenville led early in both the first two sets, but each time Burleson answered. The Lady Elks' loudest response came when they broke a 14-14 tie with an 11-1 run to the end of set two.
"We had some young girls who were very nervous," said 18th year Stephenville head coach Fran Metzger. "They kept saying, 'I'm nervous, I'm nervous.' They said it so much they made me nervous."
The nerves showed, especially early on when the Bees were called for five net violations in the first set.
"We had way too many net violations and we had a couple girls who just had a bad night," Metzger said. "These are all things we can fix though. We have talent, we'll be OK."
Stephenville was led in kills by Becca Hall and Kristin Kaiser with eight each.
"Becca has improved tremendously," Metzger said. "She hit the ball well (Tuesday) and should be a big weapon for us on the right side."
Middle blocker Natalie Tiner recorded six solo blocks and a pair of block assists to go with three kills, while the Bees' other middle, Dani Huckabee, tallied four kills, three solo blocks and eight block assists. Huckabaee also had 14 digs, while Leslie Billings led the team with 17 and Kristin Kaiser added 10.
Sheridan Stokes registered 13 assists as the primary setter, while Tiara Green added 11.
In the end, it was errors that caught up to Stephenville, which had 15 hitting errors, five service miscues and nine blocking errors.
The Bees led the opening set 7-5 before five straight Burleson points put the Lady Elks on top. It was tied at 10 and again at 11 before the Lady Elks added four straight - two of them on SHS net violations - to lead for good.
Burleson's big second-set run began with a Stephenville service error that broke a 14-14 tie. The Bees committed three more errors and a net violation the rest of the way.
The Honeybees dominated the third game, taking a 6-4 lead on back-to-back Burleson miscues and leading the rest of the set. Those errors were part of a 6-0 Stephenville run - five of those coming with sophomore Chrislyn Wells serving - for a 9-4 lead.
Burleson pulled within one at 14-13, but the Bees scored four of the next five to take control and temporarily stave off defeat.
That was as long as the Lady Elks would be denied, however, as they outscored Stephenville 9-5 after a 16-16 tie in set four. Two Honeybee errors sandwiched around a Burleson kill made it 24-19. SHS then put down a pair of points before The Lady Elks won the match on a kill from the left side.
The schedule doesn't get any easier for Stephenville, which competes in the prestigious Duncanville Tournament of Champions Friday and Saturday.
"We have to work on hitting down the lines," Metzger said of improvements she hopes to see over the weekend. "It worked against (Burleson) last year in the playoffs, but we missed too many shots tonight. We needed them, too, because when you're not hitting the lines they just take away anything across the court and then you're in trouble."
Stephenville visits Abilene Wylie and goes to New Braunfels for tourney play next week and won't return home until Aug. 23 for a dual match against Abilene and Abilene Cooper.