Bees topple Granbury

BRAD KEITH brad.keith@empiretribune.com
Natalie Tiner

GRANBURY - It was fitting that Natalie Tiner scored the winning point for Stephenville Tuesday night. She was all over the court throughout the match.

The senior middle blocker led the Honeybees in blocks and hitting percentage at .294, led in digs with 23 and had seven kills to pace Stephenville (13-16) to its sixth win in eight matches, a 25-18, 25-11, 23-25, 25-23 victory over 4A Granbury (10-14)at the James Waan Sports Center.

"Without much depth and with me giving up the libero in the rotation, my middles (Dani Huckabee is the other middle blocker) have to be able to play that way," said Stephenville head coach Fran Metzger. "(Tiner) did a great job, especially at the net."

She also had plenty of help as five Honeybees had at least six kills, led by Huckabee with 11, Sheridan Stokes with 10 and Kristin Kaiser with 10. Brooke Harvick added seven.

With Sheridan Stokes playing more on the front as a left side hitter, Chrislyn Wells became the team's leading setter Tuesday with 18 assists. Tiara Green added nine.

But the areas Metzger was most pleased with were serving and defense.

"We aced seven serves and only missed four," she pointed out. "It's always good for that to be in the positive."

Tiner, Stokes and Kaiser each aced two serves and Huckabee aced one.

Stokes served up 11 straight points in the second set after Tiner served five straight in the first. Kaiser served four straight in the second set and again in the fourth.

Defensively, the Honeybees racked up 85 digs. Tiner had more than a quarter of the team total, but again had plenty of help with three others - Huckabee with 14 and Stokes and Kaiser with 13 each - reaching double figures.

"I was especially proud of our digging from the right side, because that's where Granbury really likes to attack," Metzger explained.

Tiara Green had nine digs from the right, Chrislyn Wells added eight and Leslie Billings four.

Metzger said her team has commented on seeing the benefits of its tough early schedule.

"We called (the Fraulein Volleyfest in New Braunfels) the Olympic tournament," she said with a laugh. "We didn't know if we would ever see anybody who wasn't 5A."

It was not too different at the Volleypalooza tournament in Leander last weekend, though the Bees did win four of their last six to give them momentum going into Granbury.

Stephenville has a much-needed weekend off ahead.

"There was a stretch where we played 20 matches in a week, and a lot of the tournament matches went three games with scores like 27-25 and 25-23," Metzger said. "The girls have been going hard."

Stehenville hosts 3A West - only its third pre-district opponent not classified as 4A or 5A - next Tuesday.

Follow Brad Keith on Twitter @etsports