Now that Booneville’s volleyball team has qualified for the 4A state tournament for the fifth consecutive season, Coach Robert Dean wants something more. He wants the Lady Cats to advance and thinks he has the team to do just that.
With a combination of a sweep of Arkadelphia last Tuesday and a Mena win over Malvern that same night, the Lady Cats clinched the third seed out of the 4A West Conference for this year’s state tournament to be held in Mena. The conference is not holding a tournament at the senior high level this season so the conference positions became where the teams were seeded. Other qualifying teams were Mena (1st), Waldron (2nd) and Arkadelphia (4th).
Booneville, ranked #8 in Class 4A, awaits the runner-up from the 4A Northwest on October 29 at 6 p.m. Currently that position is held by Berryville but that could change as the Northwest is holding a district tournament. The Lady Cats would play at 6 p.m. as long as they are in the tournament.
Lady Cats def. Arkadelphia
(25-11, 25-13, 25-20)
The Lady Badgers had an early lead but a Taylor Bauer kill and two aces by Raylynn Scott gave Booneville an 8-6 cushion. They outscored Arkadelphia 17-5 the rest of the game, getting runs of five on Jaycie Rodatz’ s serve and seven on Hannah McClung. Hiley Sage Catlett had three kills during that period and McClung served two aces as the Lady Cats ran away with game one.
Bauer had two more kills early in game two but the game remained close until a run of five on Scott’s serve that included another Bauer kill. Grace Farmer then put one away as did Whitney Weaver and Booneville took the second game. It was more of a fight in the third game but Catlett had four kills before the game hit the halfway point. Bauer added two more but it was left to Weaver to end the suspense. At 20-17 she racked up back-to-back spikes and then rapped one down the line at match point to send Booneville to state.
Catlett and Bauer each had eight kills and Weaver added six more. Jaycie Rodatz had 13 assists and Catlett added 10 while the sophomore duo of McClung and Ashdon Ross had 19 and 13 digs respectively. It was Booneville’s 12th straight win over the Lady Badgers.
Mena def. Booneville
(25-23, 25-17, 25-14)
After an emotional Senior Night ceremony Booneville had to get down to the business of volleyball and settled in nicely after a slow start. The home team caught Mena with a push and a kill by Ashdon Ross and Hiley Sage Catlett’s spike put BHS on top. Mena ran off five in a row but Booneville had the answer as Raylynn Scott started a three-point run with an ace. This tied it at 16 and Booneville again caught Mena at 19 on two more Ross kills. They traded punches until Mena got a bit of a foothold; spikes by Catlett and Taylor Bauer moved BHS within 24-23 but Natalie Rose pushed one past Booneville’s defense for the game.
Booneville led 2-0 at the start of game two with a Whitney Weaver kill and a Catlett ace and another Weaver spike kept it at 2-2. Booneville took a couple of leads and remained within striking distance until Mena hit them with a seven-point run to make it 20-11. At 23-12 Booneville tried to fight back with a Ross ace and a Weaver kill highlighting a five-point run, but it was simply too much to pull back at that late point.
BHS was rolling to start the third game as Taylor Bauer got a kill and Catlett followed with an ace for 3-0. The home team led for the first third of the game, with Ross getting another kill, but Mena made decisive runs of first six and then seven points. That last one made it 23-13 and Mena finished off an unbeaten conference season.
Weaver scored with six kills, while Ross added five and made 15 digs. Hannah McClung added 32 digs and Scott made seven blocks to extend her career record to 173.