The 2018 Booneville volleyball team gave a preview of their upcoming season to an assembly last Thursday at Bearcat Gym. Several incoming sophomores-to-be melded with the returning LadyCats in the showcase.
They started with drills such as Queen of the Court, in which the winning side stays and the losing side is replaced, as well as a serve-receive drill and a standing-hit drill, before separating into teams for a scrimmage.
On Friday, the LadyCats gave a volleyball clinic at the elementary school, where they showed the fundamentals of the game to those who will become LadyCats in the future.
Seniors-to-be Maddie Herrera and Aleeah Blansett head up the returnees. Herrera, a setter, was named All-State and selected to the Times Record All-Area team after shattering all the team records for assists, while middle hitter Blansett got All-District honors as she finished third in kills behind two graduating seniors, setting the career record for blocks with a season still to go, and also racking up a high dig percentage for her position. Emma Ramey, also an incoming senior, has showed tremendous improvement over the JO season; an outside/middle hitter, she can dig well and can set if required.
Kelsey Mikles, Taylor Miller, Rebecca Walters, Huntar Ritchie and Melissa Humble make up the remainder of the incoming seniors. They will be looked to for contributions, as several of last year’s underclassmen have moved or left the program.
A newcomer to watch is Brooklyn Zarlingo. She played her first volleyball season as a freshman and ended up becoming the Jr. LadyCats’ middle hitter despite her height of only 5 feet. A season of JO volleyball has helped her out, and she can play all three positions. Another who could help will be junior-to-be Keara Ross, who has moved back to Booneville from Northwest Arkansas. The sister of former LadyCat standout Ashdon Ross, she brings much of the same athletic ability to the table. There are several other incoming sophomores who will look to get playing time.
The LadyCats open the season Aug. 20 with a home game against Atkins. They will be in a new 3A-West conference which also includes Charleston, Elkins, Lincoln, Mansfield, Paris, Waldron and West Fork.