Castleberry proved to be no pushover Tuesday night for Stephenville in their bi-district round of the state volleyball playoffs as the Lady Lions contested early, but were eventually swept, 3-0.
The first set of the match was extremely competitive between the two sides with Castleberry taking advantage of the week layoff Stephenville had from competitive play.
The Lady Lions took their first lead in the set early on, 6-5. The next 10 points went in Stephenville’s favor as they retook the lead 11-10, but the Lady Lions wouldn’t trail long responding by winning four of the next six points to take a 14-13 lead.
In all, the two teams traded the lead five times throughout the set before Stephenville went on a late 6-2 run to seize a 19-16 advantage. The little breathing room created by the Honeybees was enough to close things out with a 25-19 win.
Chloe Goodman got the scoring started in the second set for Stephenvlle while the Lady Lions later took a brief 4-3 lead.
The brief advantage for Castleberry was the only lead they would see in the second set as Stephenville outscored the Lady Lions 8-3 over the next 11 points to seize an 11-6 lead. After the run, Stephenville maintained the advantage and coasted to a 25-11 win.
Like the first set, the third featured brief flashes of brilliance from the the Lady Lions.
Castleberry took their largest lead of the night midway through the set as Stephenville trailed 10-6.
After cutting the deficit to two, several consecutive errors put Stephenville back down four points in set three, 15-11.
Fortunately for the Honeybees, their skill at stringing together consecutive points wouldn’t falter them Tuesday. Setter Taylor Garber took the service line and ended up serving what became an 8-0 run giving Stephenville back the lead 19-15 in the set.
From there, Stephenville head coach Fran Metzger’s team did what they’ve done well this season and closed the match out with a 25-19 win.
“I have to give Castleberry credit, they played great defense tonight. I felt like we were unloading on them and they just kept digging. I was proud of my kids though, we served well and had a lot of aces. I think our service game really helped us out a lot,” said Metzger after the game. “I was proud in the third set when we went on the 8-0 run. You have to have a kind of confidence to do something like that. We didn’t push the panic button and just played through it.”
Leading Stephenville offensively was Chloe Goodman and Jayci Morton. The two outside hitters combined for 15 kills in the match, while Morton also added three aces.
Taylor Garber led the team in assists with 15, while Hannah Huckabee also contributed six assists.
Defensively, Hailey Martin led the way with 14 digs, while Goodman recorded the second most on the team with eight.
Stephenville will play the winner of Abilene Wylie or Iowa Park in the Area round.