Last Monday night, it seemed like Booneville was playing from behind against Lavaca for most of the match. After they lost the odd-numbered sets and won the even-numbered ones, the LadyCats, after taking a big lead in set five, found themselves tied with with the Golden Arrows at 14. But they reached back for more and scored the next two points for the match.
In that match, Aleeah Blansett tied Jordan Weaver’s record for kills in a match with 21; ironically, Weaver’s record was also set against LHS. Blansett then proceeded to put herself on top of the all-time career kills list the next night at Elkins, as her 19 kills on the night gave her 526, taking her past Haley Carter who finished at 521.
Paris came to Bearcat Gym on Thursday and after the Lady Eagles won the first set easily, found themselves in a battle in the last two games. Though Paris came away with the straight-games win, Booneville showed a lot of spunk and led as late as 20-18 in the third game.
Booneville took part in the Paris Tournament and had mixed results. The highlights were taking a game from both Mena and Charleston. They were particularly impressive in the second game against Mena, which they won 25-14.
The LadyCats travel to Mansfield tomorrow, in a match that will likely decide the third seed in the 3A West Conference. This is a coveted place as getting the third seed places that team in the opposite side of the bracket from Paris. The district tournament starts next Monday in Waldron.
LadyCats def. Lavaca (22-25, 25-19, 14-25, 25-22, 16-14)
Aleeah Blansett started things off right with two kills and she scored the first five Booneville points, but meantime Lavaca had taken a four-point lead. They later extended that margin to 17-7, but Kelsey Mikles started a rally with a pair of aces and when Blansett hit the front row she continued her domination. She had three kills to go with an Emma Ramey ace and two Maddie Herrera drop shots in the middle to close the gap to 21-20. Lavaca got the next two but Blansett ripped two more kills, giving her 10 in the set, but the Arrows then forced a side-out for the game.
Blansett opened the second game with a kill but that was to be her only one of that set, as Booneville scored most of their points in that set on Lavaca errors. Herrera did serve an ace and dropped another in the middle, Ramey swatted a Lavaca spike down and that was followed by a Taylor Miller kill and a Keara Ross ace. The last three points, on Emily Nelson’s serve, came courtesy of errant Lavaca hits. The LadyCats took the early lead in game three thanks to two Blansett kills and a Herrera ace, but Lavaca then got a nine-point run and BHS was unable to hold serve even once the rest of the game.
With Nelson serving an ace, the LadyCats wiped out an early 2-0 lead by Lavaca and when Mikles went to the serve line she promptly hammered four aces as part of a seven-point run. Ramey got a kill as well and Booneville led 17-8. After three Blansett kills, Booneville led 20-12 but the Arrows forced their way back into it and got it to 22-21. But Ramey denied a potential game-tying kill and Booneville forced the fifth game.
Ramey started that game with an ace, Blansett got a kill and a block and Miller threw one down before another unreturnable serve by Ramey completed the six-point run. Lavaca promptly closed within 8-7 before a Blansett spike and block and a Herrera ace got things back on track. Brooklyn Zarlingo got a kill and followed it with an ace, and a Miller kill got it to game point at 14-10. Lavaca wasn’t done and they tied it at 14, but Ramey got a kill to halt that uprising and the Arrows then put it in the net to end it.
Blansett’s 21 kills came on 33 attempts and she tied Jordan Weaver’s record for a match with her third kill of the fifth set. Ramey had another outstanding match with five kills, three aces, seven blocks and 22 digs; Miller also scored with five kills and Mikles rapped six aces, while Herrera worked her Maddie Magic with five drop shots and added 31 assists.
LadyCats def. Elkins (25-9, 25-22, 25-19)
Booneville quickly established an 8-2 lead, with Aleeah Blansett smacking five early kills. That was all she would get in the game as Booneville utterly dominated. But while the 6-0 middle was serving BHS still got plenty of offense as Emma Ramey got three kills and Brooklyn Zarlingo two. Maddie Herrera also got three drop shots to go and the game ended on a power surge: a Keara Ross ace and kills by Miller and Ramey. The going was a bit tougher in the second game; Blansett had three early kills but Elkins got the game to 10-9 before Melissa Humble stepped up with an ace and Blansett followed with a kill. The Lady Elks kept coming, though, and took a 20-19 lead, but when a side-out ensued and after Ramey served an ace, Blansett followed with two kills and Miller had another to take the game.
By now needing only two more kills to break Haley Carter’s record, Blansett wasted little time. The senior tied the previous mark with a spike on the first point and then she blasted down an Elkins overpass for the record. But Booneville couldn’t hold serve until Ross, playing at the school she attended last year, fired her second ace of the match. After Miller forced a side-out, Ramey got to the line and had her second 10-or-more point run in as many weeks. She started out with an ace, with Blansett getting four kills and Miller three before Ramey was dismissed from the line. Both Miller and Blansett added another kill to make it 20-11. The Lady Elks made one last dash for it, getting it to 23-17, but Miller finished the match with a kill.
Blansett put down 19 kills and Miller added 13, with Ramey adding six kills and four blocks. Ross had four kills, two aces and 12 digs while Herrera made 36 assists.
Paris def. LadyCats (25-8, 25-15, 25-21)
Two Aleeah Blansett kills helped keep the LadyCats close early, but Paris turned a tie game upside down with a 14-point run to make it 18-4 and the Lady Eagles went on to an easy first-game win. It looked like more of the same was going to happen in game two as Paris grabbed an 18-8 lead but that was where Booneville began to stand their ground. Emma Ramey served two aces and Blansett added a kill, and then followed it with two more to close it to 22-14. But the Lady Eagles’ Ryleigh Hardwicke pounded down three of the next four points for the win.
Ramey started game three with an ace and the teams then traded side-outs until 4-4, when Paris scored five straight. But Kelsey Mikles scored with a back-row kill and followed with an ace as the LadyCats took those points right back to tie it at 9. Timely kills plus some great digging by Blansett, Ramey and Brooklyn Zarlingo ensured that the LadyCats weren’t going away in that game, and they again tied it, this time at 18. Ramey then got a kill and Mikles whacked another ace, prompting a Paris timeout as Booneville led 20-18. The Lady Eagles tied it at 20 before Maddie Herrera dropped one into the middle, but then Booneville couldn’t hold serve and Paris ran out the next four points.
Blansett had seven kills, ending a 12-match streak in which she had double-figure kills, and also had 17 digs. Herrera put four into the middle in all, while Zarlingo dug out 16 Paris hits and Ramey got her hands on 14 to go with three aces. While Hardwicke got her kills for the Lady Eagles, the LadyCats did a good job on Joni Inman, the other main Paris attacker. The LadyCats only missed one serve in the match.
In a stacked pool, the LadyCats found themselves opposite their namesakes from Mena in the first match. Aleeah Blansett had three early kills to help erase an early deficit, and Maddie Herrera added an ace as Booneville led 7-6. But after a Blansett ace made it 10-9, Mena ran off six points in a row. Despite three Taylor Miller kills, the LadyCats would get no closer than the final score of 25-22. The second game was a completely different story as after Miller forced an early side-out, Kelsey Mikles drove home two aces and Brooklyn Zarlingo followed with a kill. Two more kills by the 5-1 sophomore and two by Blansett put Booneville on top 10-3, and Ramey then got three in short order for 16-6. The LadyCats did not let up and a kill by Miller ended it at 25-14. Blansett had seven kills with Miller and Zarlingo claiming five each.
Booneville then faced Greene County Tech and after an opening kill by Miller, the LadyCats could not hold their serve until Blansett fired home a kill on Ramey’s serve. But by then it was 15-6, as many Booneville attacks that likely would have been kills against most other opponents were saved by the Lady Eagles. Blansett would add two more kills and Herrera a drop shot but GCT won the first game 25-11. It was not much better in the second game as after a Blansett block, things pretty much followed the same lines. A nine-point GCT run effectively ended things and they won 25-12.
The LadyCats had to turn around and play Charleston immediately thereafter and initially they had the same problem holding serve as they had in the previous game as the Lady Tigers led 8-4. It later became 15-8 despite a kill and ace from Keara Ross. Blansett got two kills to close the LadyCats within 16-12, but Charleston got a game point at 24-17. The LadyCats put on a furious rally with two kills by Miller, one by Blansett and two Ramey aces, but came up short. The LadyCats carried that momentum into the second game as Blansett got a block and two kills and BHS led 7-2. Charleston battled back but two Miller kills halted that and Booneville eventually led 17-10. Charleston got it to 22-17 but the LadyCats closed it out when Herrera dropped one in the middle. Blansett had seven kills and Miller five, and Ross got 17 digs in 21 tries.
As the lowest ranked third seed, Booneville had to settle for playing in the silver bracket and they faced Mayflower in the first round. They were quickly out of the gate as three kills by Ramey helped stake them to a 10-6 lead. Blansett slammed down two more and after Zarlingo and Blansett scored on Mikles’ serve and Zarlingo added another, it was 19-12. But Mayflower put on a furious rally to tie it at 20 and 21, and made a 4-1 run to end the game. Three spikes by Blansett and two Mikles aces again got BHS out early in the second game, but this time the Lady Eagles made a run in the middle of the game to take the lead at 15-10.
A run on Herrera’s serve got Booneville within one before MHS made another push and got it to match point. But the LadyCats forced “volleyball overtime” with three points on Ramey’s serve. At 26-26, Blansett fired an emphatic spike that appeared to be a foot inbounds, but was called out. To her credit, she slammed the next one down for 27-27. It was also tied at 28 and 29, but a missed serve by BHS and a Mayflower kill sent the LadyCats home. Blansett had 11 kills in the match with Ramey adding six and Miller five; Herrera had 25 assiste and Zarlingo got 12 digs.