The Booneville LadyCats were in trouble at West Fork last Monday. They had lost the first game and the Lady Tigers had game point at 24-20 in the second. Booneville really needed something to happen.
After a bad serve and a long hit by West Fork, Hayley Roberts took care of the rest.
The 5-9 sophomore, rarely used until injuries pressed her into service at the Paris tournament, hammered three kills down in a row enabling the LadyCats to win that game 26-24. They rode that momentum and won the last two games, though the fourth game was a thriller that ended 31-29.
The result meant that Booneville could finish alone in fourth place if they could defeat Mansfield on Senior Night. They had chances to do just that, but the Red Tigers had other ideas and took the match in three straight games.
Therefore, the LadyCats had to be content with the number five seed in the district tournament. This meant they had to take on Lincoln in the first round on Monday, with a win putting them up against that same Mansfield team later that night with a trip to the state tournament at stake.
Brooklyn Zarlingo missed both matches due to injury, and is likely out for the season. Stevey Harrower and Brylee Washburn are also out of action while Alivia Yeakley has only just been cleared to play.
Hayley Lunsford had her second triple-double of the season in the West Fork match. She had 12 kills, 11 digs and 17 assists. The other such match was also against the Lady Tigers.
LadyCats def. West Fork (19-25, 26-24, 25-14, 31-29)
The Lady Tigers jumped out to a 7-3 lead but a Hayley Lunsford kill and a Jessica Cauthon ace pulled Booneville within one. However, West Fork then made a five-point run; a Cauthon kill made it 16-15 but the Lady Tigers subsequently had another five-point run and took the game.
It was Booneville that was out 7-3 in the second game, with Josie O’Bar getting a kill and teaming with Joleigh Tate on a block. Lunsford added an ace and Abby O’Bar finished the run with a kill. But WF ran off five points again to retake the lead, only to see the LadyCats catch and pass them when Tate got a kill for 15-14. It stayed close for the next few points but after a Lunsford kill tied it at 20, the Lady Tigers ran off four in a row and were serving for the game. However the next serve went into the net and then WF hit it long on Katelynn Spain’s serve. Hayley Roberts, already with two kills in the game, drilled numbers three, four, and five on consecutive points to even the match.
Booneville quickly led 10-3 in the third game, with Tate getting two kills and Raven McCubbin serving up an ace. WF got within two but Tate got two more kills and added two blocks, with McCubbin firing another ace which was followed by another, this time from Tate. Roberts set up game point with a kill and Spain served an ace to end it.
West Fork grabbed an early advantage in game four but soon Booneville was ahead as Abby O’Bar and Lunsford got kills back-to-back. After the Lady Tigers grab the laid-back, Tate evened it with a kill and McCubbin followed suit. The LadyCats evened it at 17 and then Halee Villarreal put BHS up with an ace. West Fork didn’t quit and had a game point at 24-23, but again their serve went into the net. A Lunsford kill then gave Booneville match point but they could not take advantage.
That was repeated and then West Fork also had a chance, but again they made a serving error. A McCubbin ace followed but the next serve was in the net and after a Tate kill, Booneville appeared to have it won when a WF hit went out, but it was ruled that a LadyCat tipped it. Roberts then made another big play with a block and the match finally ended when the Lady Tigers hit it wide.
Lunsford finished with 12 kills, 11 digs and 17 assists as Tate had 8 kills and Roberts and Cauthon seven each. Tate also had six blocks and Roberts four, with McCubbin serving four aces and Spain three, to which the sophomore libero added 24 digs.
Mansfield def. LadyCats (25-22, 25-12, 25-20)
The team honored seniors Stevey Harrower, Josie O’Bar and Cheyanne Glover before the match and Joleigh Tate started things off as she had done at the match in Mansfield, with a block. Paisley Vickers followed that with her first kill of the season but Mansfield then got rolling and led 9-3. Vickers halted that run with two aces and a run of three on Hayley Lunsford’s serve, including an ace and a Tate rejection, made it 12-11 for BHS. But the Red Tigers made an 8-2 run; Booneville ran off three on Vickers’ serve for 20-19 but couldn’t get any closer.
It was a disastrous start for Booneville in the second game as Mansfield scored the first eight points. The LadyCats really couldn’t get any traction in that game and so had to win three in a row. Kills by Josie O’Bar and Vickers got things going and soon the LadyCats led 8-4. But Mansfield got on a run to lead 14-12 before BHS fought back. Tate got a kill, and then Abby O’Bar and Vickers combined on a block and the LadyCats led 20-17. But Booneville would score no more as the Red Tigers closed with a 8-0 run.
Lunsford finished with five kills and Tate added four; though she had five blocks, that was much less than the 15 the sophomore got in the first meeting between the two teams. Vickers added two kills, two aces and two blocks.