GLEN ROSE - If upperclassmen really are supposed to lead the way in the playoffs, then Kristin Kaiser must not have received the memo.
Everything was working for the sophomore outside hitter Monday night, as she scored time and again on her trademark shot down the line and on cross-court kill shots, as well.
By the end of the night, Kaiser had amassed 18 kills in just four sets, and Stephenville was on its way to a likely rematch with Aledo in the area round of the 4A playoffs.
The Bees eliminated Burleson 25-23, 22-25, 25-16, 25-14 in the bi-disrict round at Glen Rose High School. Assuming Aledo takes care of Fort Worth Eastern Hills tonight, the rivals will square off Thursday at Burleson High School. A time was not made official as of press time Monday.
"I was just feeling it," said a shy but wide-smiling Kaiser immediately following the match. "They were giving me good sets and I was just putting it down.
Stephenville head coach Fran Metzger had much more to say about Kaiser's performance.
"She's outstanding. She really turned it on," Metzger said. "The slide (to the middle blockers) was working early on, then their libero started moving to the line and digging us, but that's when Kristin took over."
After splitting the first two sets, the teams continued to go back and forth until Stephenville led 9-7 in game three.
That's when the Bees got hot, using a Burleson penalty and kills by Kaiser and senior middle blocker Kaylee Davis to move ahead 12-7.
Burleson never got closer than three the rest of the set, as Davis served six straight times to give the Bees some breathing room. Senior outside hitter Brooklyn Moody had two kills during the run and Davis aced a serve to make it 20-11 before the Lady Elks finally earned a sideout.
"At the beginning of the (match) I was just serving to get it over, but the coaches told me to hit it as hard as I can like I do in practice," Davis said. "That's what I started doing in the third game."
Kaiser kills accounted for three of the final four points to give the Bees control of the match.
The momentum rolled straight into game four, when the sophomore drilled consecutive kills to tie the match at 8-8. Moments later she sandwiched two more kills around one by Davis and the Bees were on their way with a 14-9 lead.
That started a long run of serves by Kensie Colegrove, who had an ace to make it 18-9 before Kaiser made it a double-digit lead with yet another thunderous shot. Colegrove ended up serving eight straight.
The Bees got a quick side out followed by an ace from sophomore setter Sheridan Stokes for a comfortable 21-10 advantage.
That's when the seniors took over with two Moody kills helping Stephenville reach match point with Davis serving.
"I was thinking here we go, I'm serving game point again," Davis said.
She jump-served to the middle of the floor and Burleson never had a chance, going down for good on the Bees' fourth ace of the set and ninth of the match.
"It felt really good," Davis said of the ace. "It was just great to get the win and keep going."
Davis seemed certain it will be Aledo facing Stephenville Thursday and can't wait for a third meeting with the Lady Cats. Stephenville swept Aledo on the final day of a tournament in Fredericksburg then lost to the Lady Cats in four sets three days later on the road.
"We're coming out three times as hard because it's Aledo," Davis said. "I think since we'll be on mutual territory it will be totally different (than the loss on Aledo's homecourt)."
Metzger hopes her senior leader is right. The last time the perennial powers met in the playoffs was in the area round in 2008 when the Lady Cats won the first two sets then held off a furious Stephenville rally in five.
"We're due for a win against Aledo, we really are" said Metzger, whose clubs have lost in the area round each of the last three years. "The kids worked hard because they wanted a shot at them. Now we've got it."