After four days of two-a-day practices, it’s go-time for Stephenville.

The Honeybees are hosting Abilene High, Aledo and Wylie in scrimmage play at 9 a.m. today at Gandy Gym. They travel to Birdville for another multi-team scrimmage at 10 a.m. Saturday, then entertain Burleson in the 2010 season opener Tuesday night.

Head coach Fran Metzger, whose club reached the area round of the 4A playoffs for the third straight season last fall, has her usually tough preseason schedule lined out and ready.

Stephenville, which has been to the 4A playoffs in 13 of the last 14 years, will be thrown right into the fire next weekend, competing Friday and  Sturday in the prestigious Duncanville Tournament of Champions. Then it’s  back home for Wylie, followed by a trip to a big tournament in New Braunfels, a dual-match at home against Abilene and Abilene Cooper, then another tournament in Fredericksburg.

But the tests really begin today, and Metzger will be looking for progress at all positions as she finalizes her roster.

The competition is expected to be fierce, as all four teams involved reached the post season last year. The same can be said for Saturday, as it was Birdville that knocked the Bees from the playoffs in the second round in 2009, marking their third straight area-round exit. Season-opening foe Burleson made the playoffs in 5A and has since dropped to 4A.

The emphasis in preparation Thursday afternoon was mostly on basics, as players spent a large part of the practice divided into groups working on digging and bumping at one station, setting at another and hitting at a third.

Metzger, as always, has also stressed  conditioning early on. The annual eight-minute mile kicked off workouts  Monday, and practice stations included box jumps and other plyometric conditioning.