CLEBURNE - Stephenville stretched its win streak to six and took sole possession of second place in District 8-4A with a four-set win over Cleburne Tuesday, 26-28, 25-22, 25-13 and 25-18.
A furious second-set comeback swung the momentum in Stephenville's favor, and the Honeybees never gave it back.
“We were a little nervous and uptight at first,” Stephenville Head Coach Fran Metzger said of the loss in the opening set and falling behind in the second.
Already in a hole after dropping the back-and-forth first set, Stephenville found itself behind the eight ball facing a 19-13 deficit in the second.
The comeback began with one of Claire Goodman's team-leading 18 kills, cutting the deficit to five.
With Mara Christian serving for the Bees, Cleburne committed a pair of hitting errors to pull Stephenville within three at 19-16.
A sideout gave CHS the serve and a four point advantage, but Meghan Muir landed a soft tip to re-take the serve for Stephenville.
One of MaKayla Elliot's 10 kills cut the Cleburne lead down to 20-18, prompting the Lady Jackets to call a timeout.
Christina Murphy came out of the break swinging, landing a kill to tie the set. The sophomore went on to finish the match with six kills.
Cleburne briefly regained the advantage on a service error by the Bees, but SHS got another quick sideout when Alyssa Parham surprised everyone with a dig that made its way over the net and landed just inside the line on the left side of the floor.
MaKayla Elliott recorded a block at the net, Murphy landed another kill and Muir scored on another tip to push Stephenville to game point, up 24-22.
Elliott served for the final point, and Murphy tipped home the winner for the Bees.
Stephenville was led by a surging Muir at the net during an early third-set run.
Muir recorded four of her six kills for the match during a critical run of seven consecutive points that gave Stephenville a commanding 12-3 lead.
Snow had 53 assists for the Bees, while Elliott added 16 digs to her prowess at the net. Sage Lasater had 16 digs, as well.
Metzger says the key to the Honeybees' six-game winning streak has been improved consistency in ball control.
The consistency and the streakwill be challenged again Friday when Stephenville visits district-leader Aledo.
Brad Keith is the sports editor at the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at (254) 965-3124, ext. 241, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org