ALEDO — The 20th-ranked Stephenville Honeybees didn’t have to wait long for a highly competitive, exciting matchup in the playoffs.
Krum gained a 2-1 lead in sets before the Honeybees rallied for an exciting triumph in five sets, 25-23, 24-26, 15-25, 25-18, 15-12 Tuesday night at Aledo High School.
The crowd on both sides became more and more energetic and noisier as the two squads treated them to numerous long points, especially deeper into the match.
The Honeybees won the opening set before Krum took the next two. They evened it at two sets each, then found themselves down 10-5 in the deciding set.
SHS then pulled into a tie at 11-all, but Krum went back on top on the next point, 12-11. But after the set was tied again at 12, the Honeybees went ahead to stay on a winner unleashed by senior outside hitter Chloe Goodman. The Honeybees then secured the victory by taking the next two points.
“It was very nerve-racking,” senior SHS setter Hannah Huckabee said after the match. “I’m glad we came back and fought through it.”
“When you’re down by that much, it’s hard not to lose hope,” said SHS senior outside hitter/middle blocker Jayci Morton. “It’s a crazy feeling. It’s amazing.”
Huckabee noted that they had played Krum twice earlier in the season and lost both times.
“We’re pretty evenly matched,” she said. “We were pumped to play this game.”
It was the first playoff victory as Stephenville’s head coach for Shay Douglas, who was hired after longtime head coach Fran Metzger retired at the end of the last school year. Douglas was an all-state player for Metzger when the Honeybees won their only volleyball championship in 2003.
“It’s so exciting,” said Douglas, who had been coaching volleyball at Giddings. “The girls kept competing and fighting and they were rewarded. Anything can happen in volleyball.
“I’m super proud and thrilled. Now it’s time to go back to work.”
The 28-17 Honeybees were scheduled to play their area playoff game against Graham at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Nov. 1) at Jacksboro High School.
Goodman led SHS in kills with 21, followed by Landri Withers with 10 and Alee McClendon with nine.
Libero Gabie Lucero had a team-leading 33 digs. Morton was next with 21 and Emily Stroebel had 17.
Huckabee posted 34 assists and Karlee Easterling had 20.
McClendon led in blocked shots with five, and Jaydi Griffin had three.
There were a few areas that Douglas felt the Honeybees could improve on.
“We were a little sketchy in the beginning with our blocking,” Douglas said. “We started being more aggressive offensively, and good things happened, and we stayed playing together as a team.”
Graham, 32-7, won the District 8-4A title with an 8-0 record and won its bi-district contest over Big Spring in three sets.
Now that the playoffs have arrived, the Texas Girls Coaches Association is only ranking the top 10 teams in each classification. In the previous TGCA poll, Stephenville was ranked 20th.
The winner of the SHS-Graham area playoff game will take on either Midland Greenwood or 10th-ranked Decatur in the regional quarterfinals.
Krum was the third-place team in District 8-4A, and closed its season with an 18-12 season mark.