After winning their first four matches at the Tri-Lakes volleyball tournament in Hot Springs on Saturday, Booneville found themselves with their backs squarely against the wall against Lonoke in the semifinals. The LadyCats were down 14-11 in the third set, but they dug down deep.

BHS ran off the last five points for the comeback win which enabled them to play Fountain Lake for the tournament championship. But that proved to be one match too many for a tired but game LadyCat team. They gave it all they had against the #1 team in Class 4A but the Lady Cobras took the win.

Still, it was a very successful week in which the LadyCats won eight matches out of nine, including a sweep of Mena, and moved their record to 20-4, 10-1 in the conference. It is the first time the LadyCats have won 20 games before the end of September, and represents the most games over .500 the BHS volleyball program has ever been.

During the tournament middle hitter Haley Carter had 50 kills and became the LadyCats’ season and career record holder in that category.

LadyCats def. Jessieville (25-10, 25-21, 25-13)

Four Haley Carter kills and two Maddie Herrera aces got BHS off to a great start (6-1), and not long after Jordan Weaver made a kill for a side-out and followed with four aces in a row, with Paisley Templeman’s back-row kill making it 14-5. Later, another Carter kill made it 20-9 and still another ended the game.

Carter ripped another kill and Herrera served four aces as the LadyCats went to a 7-0 start in game two. It became 13-3 after Carter served two aces and Booneville started to get some of their reserves some playing time. Kelsey Mikles and Adria Coffer each got a kill, then Carter got another and Aleeah Blansett’s ace got it to 18-6. Jessieville managed to make the score respectable but Booneville still won.

It was a 5-0 start to the third game for Booneville; the Lady Lions managed to get within 8-7 but a run of seven on Weaver’s serve put BHS back in charge. Two kills by Macy Geddes and two by Carter, including the match-winner, finished it off. Carter finished with 12 kills, while Herrera had seven aces and Weaver five.

LadyCats def. Hackett (25-13, 25-20, 25-10)

After a bit of a slow start to the first game the LadyCats began to take control. Kills by Aleeah Blansett and Haley Carter took it to 9-4 but Booneville did not open a comfortable lead until they ran off six points on Haley Carter’s serve to make it 19-9. Blansett then finished the game off by getting four kills in the last six points.

Booneville fell behind 3-0 in the second game but soon Booneville took charge again, with Blansett providing the spark with three kills and a block. Another point by Blansett made it 15-11, then Carter had a block and two kills and Paisley Templeman also got a kill. The Lady Hornets would not go down easy, getting within 20-17, but two Macy Geddes kills and one by Carter set up Maddie Herrera to end the game with an ace.

Hackett again had an early lead in the third game, but two long runs, one of six points and another of seven, put Booneville in charge. Two Blansett kills started the first run and Carter had two in the second blitz. Those runs made it 18-9, then the LadyCats ran off the last seven points of the match. A Geddes kill put her on the serve line and Carter had three kills in the final run, including the winner. Carter fired home 17 kills, with Blansett getting 12 kills and five blocks.

LadyCats def. Mena (25-21, 25-18, 25-13)

Booneville took an early 7-4 lead with Haley Simpson getting two kills to start it off, but Mena came back to take the lead. That did not last long as Jordan Weaver accounted for three points on her serve. Four more points came on Paisley Templeman’s serve and Booneville led 15-10. As expected, Mena would not go away quietly and pulled within 21-20 but Templeman scored with a back-row attack and Macy Geddes got a spike, then Aleeah Blansett and Haley Carter finished it with kills.

After Mena scored the first two points of game two BHS racked up the next seven with Carter getting two kills. Mena got within 11-7 but Geddes and Carter got kills for 16-8. Jordan Weaver’s kill made it 22-13 and Booneville closed out the second game easily.

It was even easier in the third game as Booneville rolled out to a 9-1 lead, with Carter finishing the run with three consecutive kills. Following a Templeman attack, Weaver fired in three straight aces for 14-3 and Booneville had full command, which they didn’t give up. When Weaver got back to the serve line she ripped three more unreturnable serves and Blansett added a kill for 24-11. Carter finished the match with 15 kills, while Weaver had five kills and six aces. Herrera had 26 assists and Templeman 27 digs.

Tri-Lakes Tournament

The first pool match was against Jessieville and Booneville made short work of them (25-9, 25-12). Haley Carter opened the match with two kills and Booneville got two Macy Geddes aces to 6-3. Later Booneville got a nine-point run to end the game, with Aleeah Blansett getting four late kills. Jessieville actually took the lead in game two, but Blansett again helped the LadyCats take charge with three kills on Jordan Weaver’s serve. This was only the start; BHS later scored 10 straight points with Paisley Templeman serving three aces and Adria Coffer coming off the bench to contribute two kills. Blansett scored with nine kills in the match.

Lakeside was the second-match opponent and Booneville took a 9-6 lead. The Class 5A Lady Rams stuck close to Booneville throughout the first game getting within 11-10 but a couple of three-point runs enabled BHS to gain a foothold. Carter’s kill and block made it 22-18 and she would score with two more kills to end the game. The LadyCats started the second game with four straight points and after Lakeside got within 11-9, Maddie Herrera served two aces and Carter got two more kills as Booneville took charge. Later, Booneville erased any doubt as Haley Simpson’s kill started a four-point run, and Geddes ended the match on a kill (25-22, 25-19). Carter had seven kills and Blansett five, with each getting four blocks and Herrera serving four aces.

Booneville took on Malvern in game three and it was quickly 8-2 after Geddes served two aces, and later 15-5. Geddes and Blansett made kills and Herrera dropped one into the middle to make it 18-6. Malvern made a comeback but Carter and Blansett finished it off with kills. Four kills in a row, two by Blansett and one each by Templeman and Weaver, erased an early game-two deficit but Malvern stayed close and got within 17-16 before the LadyCats scored the last eight points. Blansett had three kills in the match-ending run and finished with 10, while Carter added seven in the 25-17, 25-16 win.

That enabled BHS to win the pool and the LadyCats made short work of Bauxite in the first round of brackets. It was 7-1 early as Geddes and Carter each scored with two kills, and five different players got spikes as BHS led 13-4. Carter would rack up four more kills before the first game was over. The second game started with two Herrera aces, with Carter getting three more kills and then getting four more points on her serve, including an ace for 10-5. Later three more Carter spikes and two by Geddes made it 22-12. Carter ended with 15 kills and Geddes added five as BHS won 25-12, 25-16.

An epic match with Lonoke followed. It looked as if Booneville was going to make it another easy match as they were quickly out to a 7-1 lead after a Simpson kill. The lead kept on growing, with Carter getting four kills, until it was 18-9 after Weaver put one away. But Lonoke came flying back into the match as they were getting tips to go their way. The Lady Rabbits evened the game at 20, then pulled ahead and had a game point at 24-23. Carter took care of that with a kill and two LHS errors presented Booneville with the game.

Lonoke took the lead in the second game at 8-4 but Booneville worked themselves back into it at 11-9 after Blansett’s ace. But with Keiunna Walker getting hot, the Lady Rabbits pushed back out to lead 18-13 and 21-14. A Blansett kill helped get Booneville off the deck and Carter followed with two more to make it 23-21. Lonoke again went to game point; Geddes got a kill and Carter a block but the next point went to Lonoke, forcing the third game.

The Lady Rabbits led early but Blansett’s block tied the score at 7. But LHS pushed again, taking the lead and then Carter seemingly put away a bad Lonoke set, but it was called out. This led to three Lonoke match points, but Carter took care of the first one with a kill and put herself up to serve. The Lady Rabbits were called for a lift, then Blansett got a kill and Lonoke hit the next two out to give Booneville the win. Carter racked up 14 kills and added 14 digs; Simpson had six kills and Blansett five with Templeman getting 24 digs.

This put BHS in the finals against unbeaten but once-tied Fountain Lake. Carter gave Booneville the lead with a kill; the Lady Cobras then took the advantage but the LadyCats stayed within striking distance, with another Carter spike making it 12-10. But Fountain Lake then went on an 8-2 run to take control; two Weaver aces were the last hurrah for BHS in that game. FL led 9-4 early in the second game and gradually built on it; the LadyCats tried to hold their ground with a Templeman kill and blocks by Carter and Blansett, but the stress of two matches in a row finally told as the Lady Cobras won 25-14, 25-16. Carter had five kills; she finished with 50 for the tournament and Blansett added 32, while Herrera accounted for 129 assists and Templeman 93 digs.