The Booneville volleyball team showed teams from four other states just what they were made of during the Branson volleyball camp July 18-20. The Lady Cats faced competition from Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Illinois during the camp and acquitted themselves quite well.
In the bracket play, Booneville defeated Reeds Spring, Mo. in a thriller (25-19, 30-28) before falling to Sparta, Mo. in the semifinals.
Senior outside hitter Taylor Bauer was selected for the All-Camp team after putting on a great performance. She had over 30 kills during camp, dug at 84 percent and served at 93 percent. Senior defensive specialist Ashlie Powell was named, in a vote by the team, as best camper for her performance both on and off the court, while junior libero Hannah McClung was selected as the player who most made a difference on the court.
On the first day, the I group, made up of starters and potential starters, was slow out of the gate losing to St. Teresa’s (Ill.), along with Adrian and Sparta (Mo.) But a change of venue for their other two matches proved beneficial as the Lady Cats won against Berryhill and split with Okay (Okla.) Against Okay, Bauer had seven kills and Grace Farmer added three, while McClung had 14 digs and the setting by Carley Wooldridge and Brittany Drawbaugh was spot-on, as it had been against Berryhill.
The II group also started slowly but hit their stride sooner, taking a game from Sparta and beating Okay, with Mariah Reagan and Sabreena Alfaro getting the bulk of the kills and Powell and Paige Barr getting it done on the digs.
After falling to Greene County Tech in the opening match Friday, the varsity group faced Enid, Okla., and it was here that the play of the tournament occurred. Enid’s middle hitter went up to spike the ball, only to be emphatically rejected by Alyssa Adair, who was giving up five inches to her opponent.
Booneville won that game and in the second game Adair again got the better of her opposite number, simply tipping the ball away from the block. Jaycie Rodatz then scored with two aces by hitting the ball right at the unfortunate Enid player, who was then taken out, not to return. Bauer had five kills in that match, with McClung getting 14 digs again and Sarah Tillery adding eight.
Meanwhile, the JV was having a great day. They split with both Enid and Jonesboro and then swept Blue Eye (Mo.). During the course of the day, Mikenna Kerr had several blocks at the net and Alfaro found a spot in the deep corner and repeatedly pushed the ball there. Reagan was getting it done digging, setting and spiking and Vallerie Griffiths was also playing very well.
The Lady Cats dropped a match to Seneca to start Saturday before defeating Northeast (Kan.). With McClung now unavailable due to a softball tournament, Rodatz took over as libero and Reagan was called up from the II squad. It took a little time for Rodatz to settle in but against Northeast, she had 12 digs in 13 tries. Bauer had six kills and three aces in that match with Farmer adding five spikes. Wooldridge also scored with three aces in the contest and Reagan did not miss a serve in eight tries.
The II team won matches against Diamond (Mo.) and Douglass (Kan.) to start Saturday. Megan Plymale owned the middle and Erica McKeen did well on the outside, with Lauren Stevens getting a couple of points by turning subpar digs the other way. Maddy Jones made a tremendous save against Diamond, and probably played her best match ever in that one.
However, in the tournament, they were to meet their match in Catoosa, Oklahoma. The opponents dominated the first game but Booneville made a run at them in the second. Plymale got up to block a couple of Catoosa spikes and Taryn Humble was attacking the ball with gusto, scoring on a pair of kills in short order. However, the rally came up short.
The varsity played Reeds Spring, Mo., in the first round of their bracket play. The Lady Cats won 25-19 in the first game but Reeds Spring would not go down without a fight. They had a game point at 24-23 but were denied, and each team would have two game points before a Reeds Spring player hit it wide at 29-28 to give Booneville the match. Bauer, Adair, Wooldridge and Drawbaugh all had three kills in the match with Adair also getting four blocks and Kaitlynn Davis two, while Rodatz came up big with 19 digs.
But much like the first day, Booneville could not solve SpAarta in the semifinals. Farmer tried her best to keep the Lady Cats in the match as she had six kills, but she was getting little support as no other Booneville player had more than one. Rodatz led the Lady Cat defense with 17 digs, while Reagan did not miss a serve or dig in seven tries at both.