Stephenville ushers in the 2009 volleyball season this evening with matches against 2008 Class 5A playoff qualifiers Weatherford and Burleson at Gandy Gym.

The Honeybees, fresh off a 22-18 campaign in which they reached the 4A Region I area finals despite having only three seniors, face Weatherford first at 7 p.m. before meeting Burleson at 8 p.m. The contests follow JV matches at 5 and 6 p.m. Freshman action begins at 5 p.m. in the SHS auxiliary gym.

Burleson was the runner-up in District 3-5A last year, while Weatherford placed third in the same league. Both were eliminated in the first round of the state playoffs as Burleson fell to Arlington Lamar and Weatherford was swept by Arlington.

Stephenville has defeated Burleson in each of its last two regular season openers, including on the road in 2008.

The Honeybees, who have reached the post season 11 of the last 12 years and won the 2003 4A state title, continue their difficult early season slate with their annual trip to Duncanville for the prestigious Tournament of Champions this weekend. The Bees will also compete in the traditionally tough New Braunfels tournament Aug. 20-22 and the KSA Labor Day Tournament at Disney World in Orlando Sept. 3-5.

District 8-4A play begins Sept. 11 against Arlington Seguin.