If there were ever a "good" loss, it may have been Saturday when the previously unbeaten Stephenville Honeybees fell to Bushland.
Coach Shay Douglas’s Honeybees entered their game Saturday with a 13-0 record and ranked No. 2 in the state in the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s Class 4A rankings. Bushland, also unbeaten, entered as the top-ranked Class 3A squad in the state and posted a 25-20, 25-18, 25-13 victory over SHS, as part of a tripleheader played Saturday at Peaster High School.
In Monday’s new TGCA Class 4A rankings, Stephenville slipped to No. 5 in the state behind Needville, Lindale, China Spring and Decatur.
In a single dual match Friday at home in Gandy Gym, Stephenville had defeated Brock, sweeping to a 25-12, 25-14, 25-15 win. In the junior varsity contest, SHS won a 25-9, 25-13 decision. The SHS Freshman A Team and Freshman B Team both lost to Brock teams in two sets.
The loss to Bushland Saturday left the Bees with a 13-1 season record heading into their next match, Friday, Sept. 4 at home against Midlothian Heritage (varsity at 5 p.m.). Stephenville’s first district match is set for Sept. 22, at Gatesville.
"The loss came at the right time," said Douglas, whose squad will travel to Vernon Saturday to take on Hereford. "We have a big weekend ahead, and we are looking forward to that. We know what we need to improve on."
In the Honeybees’ first match Saturday at Peaster, they topped Peaster in a five-set match, 25-22, 22-25, 25-18, 18-25, 15-8. The SHS JV also beat Peaster, 27-25, 25-27, 25-18.
Bushland has a history of excellence in volleyball, having won three Class 2A state championships (2007, 2008 and 2013), and reaching the Class 3A state finals in 2015.
"Nobody likes to lose, but it’s not about the loss," Douglas said. "Bushland is no joke. They would probably beat most 4A and 5A teams. It doesn’t matter what classification (they are)."
Douglas mentioned that the Honeybees "learned a lot about themselves" in the weekend matchups.
Against Peaster, Alee McClendon posted 15 kills and four blocked shots for the Bees, while also recording a .462 hitting percentage.
Jaylee Matthews added 10 kills and had no errors for SHS. Teammate Landri Withers had 16 kills, while Cali Carter and Withers posted 27 digs each. Bailey Kammerer had four aces for the Bees in that match.
"Friday we played well and served really well," Douglas said. "Brock is very talented, but we didn’t let that bother us. We kept their offense out of system."