After 24-plus years as a head coach, Fran Metzger didn't mind having to guide her team through nine sets to reach 500 career victories at Gandy Gym Tuesday night.
"I wondered if we were ever going to get it done," said Metzger, who picked up wins No. 499 and 500 against Abilene High and Abilene Cooper in a dual match. "The girls knew it was coming and I think they tightened up some, but I'm proud of them for pulling through even when they were struggling."
It's Metzger's 17th season at Stephenville, where she's amassed 381 of her wins. She won 119 matches over the eight previous seasons at Granbury.
"It just means there's been a lot of girls," said Metzger in reflection. "A lot of players, parents, assistant coaches and others had a hand in this. This is about all of them as much as it's about me."
A brief ceremony was held after the Bees held off Cooper in a five-set marathon for victory No. 500. Metzger was presented with a plaque, and a banner was also displayed to commemorate the moment.
"Fran has had a great career. Now she has a state championship (at Stephenville in 2003) and 500 wins. Very few coaches can boast of doing that," said Stephenville superintendent Dr. Darrell Floyd. "We've been blessed to have her here with all her many skills and abilities. We congratulate her immensely and wish her the best of luck through the rest of the season and in the future."
Metzger was surprised by the ceremony, though she admits she became suspicious something was being planned as the final set against Cooper was winding down.
"Out of the corner of my eye I saw (Mark) Kaiser (a parent) move over by the door and I wondered if something was up," she said. "It was very nice of everyone to do this for me."
The Bees began the long night with a four-set victory over Abilene High, 25-22, 16-25, 25-18, 25-22, before outlasting Cooper in the nightcap, 25-8, 16-25, 25-16, 21-25, 15-11.
Junior Kristin Kaiser had 19 kills against Abilene, while Dani Huckabee had 10 with only one error and Leslie Billings added eight. They were setup by Sheridan Stokes with 23 assists and Tiara Green with 18.
Sophomore libero Chrislyn Wells led the defense with 20 digs while Sheridan Stokes posted 18 and Huckabee added 17 to give both juniors double-doubles.
Against Cooper, the Bees were led up front by Huckabee with 12 kills and Kaiser with 11. Senior Becca Hall and junior Leslie Billings each recorded eight while junior Natalie Tiner chipped in with seven. Stokes assisted on 26 of the kills, while Green, a sophomore, had 13 assists.
Kaiser dug 19 balls, Huckabee 18, Billings 15 and Wells 11 to lead the defense.
Stephenville travels to Kerrville for tournament play at Tivy High School Friday and Saturday.