After losing matches to Mena and Waldron earlier in the week the Booneville LadyCats found themselves in a quandary as they prepared to take on Elkins on Thursday. Four starters and two reserves would not be available for the match, causing Coach Janice West to shuffle the lineup.
West proved herself a master shuffler as all the players she inserted into the lineup made positive things happen for the LadyCats, leading to a four-set Booneville win that evened both their conference (2-2) and overall (5-5-3) record.
One of those reserves, Brylee Washburn, had the match-winning kill while the O’Bar sisters (Josie and Abby) along with Jessica Cauthon, Emily Nelson, Raven McCubbin and Halee Villarreal all stepped up their game enabling the LadyCats to gain the win.
The LadyCats were expected to be back to full strength for the visit of Paris which took place on Monday. The LadyCats continue a three-match homestand with West Fork visiting Thursday and Hackett next Monday before the first half of the conference season ends with a trip to Mansfield next Tuesday.
Mena def.Booneville (25-6, 25-14, 25-11)
Booneville never really got untracked against their namesakes from Polk County. By the time Abby O’Bar scored Booneville’s first kill of the match, Mena had a 14-3 lead. Joleigh Tate would get a kill and combine with Brooklyn Zarlingo for a block later in the game but that was all BHS could muster. Booneville managed an early lead in game two as a Zarlingo kill made it 3-1. She would have another kill in the game and so would Tate but Mena in the interim launched a 7-0 run. Keara Ross put together back-to-back aces, but Mena scored the next five points for the game.
By the time Stevey Harrower got a kill for BHS in the third game, Mena had gone out to a 9-2 advantage. Booneville could not get a point on their serve until late in the game, when a Tate kill notched a point on Harrower’s serve. Tate, O’Bar and Zarlingo each had three kills for the purple and gold, while Katelynn Spain managed 15 digs.
Waldron def. LadyCats (25-16, 25-12, 25-17)
Booneville met an opening four-point salvo by the Lady Bulldogs with four of their own, as Hayley Lunsford served two aces and Keara Ross blocked a WHS attempt. Lunsford and Joleigh Tate combined for consecutive blocks later in the game that gave Booneville a 10-9 lead, but Waldron answered with a 13-2 run to take control and eventually won the game. Booneville again took an early lead in the second game only to see Waldron go on a 6-1 run. Lunsford and Tate again combined for a block later in the game, but Booneville seemed out of sync because their passes weren’t accurate and the setters had to scramble. A further five-point run by the Lady Bulldogs locked up that game.
Ross started the third game off with a kill and she would add another, with Lunsford and Brooklyn Zarlingo also getting spikes for an early LadyCat lead. Four different LadyCats then got kills as Booneville pushed back Waldron bids to blow it open. Zarlingo brought Booneville within 13-11 and after Waldron scored four in a row, Booneville followed suit with Stevey Harrower serving an ace and Tate getting a kill and a block, but the Lady Bulldogs then racked up seven in a row. Zarlingo and Tate each finished with four kills, to which Zarlingo added 17 digs and Tate six blocks.
LadyCats def. Elkins (22-25, 25-19, 25-22, 26-24)
Booneville came out flying in the hot Elkins gym, as Hayley Lunsford smacked two aces and Abby O’Bar had a block for an early 7-1 lead. But then the LadyCats ran into a spell where they couldn’t hold serve, enabling the Lady Elks to get back into it. Finally, after a Lunsford kill, Katelynn Spain ran off five points on her serve to make it 22-16. However, Elkins ran off the last nine points to take the game.
The LadyCats needed a spark early in the second game and got it from Emily Nelson. The junior started off her serving run with two aces and Brooklyn Zarlingo fired down two kills. Later Raven McCubbin also served up a pair of aces and Spain ran off six service points, including two unreturnable serves, as the LadyCats evened the match. A Lunsford ace put BHS on top 4-0 in game three, then McCubbin combined with Abby O’Bar for a block and then got a kill on Josie O’Bar’s serve. Jessica Cauthon followed with another kill. But after another Nelson ace, Booneville couldn’t hold serve despite a Josie O’Bar kill until they got a break.
Halee Villarreal, in for Spain because the libero had become overheated, served one that caught the net and just fell over and later the sophomore dropped a roll attack into an unoccupied area. Still, the LadyCats had to have a four-point run on Zarlingo’s serve to take control and eventually win the game.
The LadyCats were quickly out of the gate in the fourth game, taking a 5-1 lead on a series of Elkins errors. But EHS recovered and took the lead themselves, holding it until Josie O’Bar put one away for 12-10. Elkins came back at them again and led 16-12 before Cauthon and McCubbin got back-to-back kills. Spain then served an ace and Cauthon added two of her own, followed by kills from Zarlingo and Lunsford for 22-20. Another Lunsford kill gave Booneville match point, but Elkins came back to tie it at 24. They thought they would have a game point after McCubbin shanked a Lady Elk serve, but Lunsford made an incredible one-handed save that dropped in just over the net. Then Brylee Washburn, who had not played since the first set, got a chance to end the match and did just that with a kill.
Zarlingo had nine kills, 25 digs and five blocks with Lunsford getting seven kills. Spain added three aces and 29 digs but those who had been toiling on the JV got a chance to shine as well. Cauthon added five kills; Abby O’Bar blocked six Elkins spikes while McCubbin and Nelson each served three aces. Nelson also added 12 digs and Josie O’Bar scored with two kills.