The Booneville LadyCat volleyball squad, for the second week in a row, had to recover on Thursday from a stinging loss on Tuesday. And just as they did last week, the LadyCats delivered against one of the Northwest Arkansas schools in the 3A West conference.
Aleeah Blansett scored with 11 kills and Brooklyn Zarlingo added 10, with Blansett not missing an attack, as the LadyCats made Elkins’ first trip to Bearcat Gym miserable with a three-game sweep (25-16, 25-18, 25-9).
Earlier, after rallying from two sets down to force a fifth game against Waldron on Tuesday, the LadyCats couldn’t close the deal and Waldron came away with the win. This came despite three Booneville players (Blansett, Zarlingo and Taylor Miller) being in double-figures in kills, the first time it had ever happened for a LadyCat team.
Booneville (6-6-1, 2-2) completes a three-match road trip tomorrow at West Fork before Mansfield comes to town next Monday in what should be a big match for both teams. Booneville owns a win over the Lady Tigers in the Mena tournament but the fact that this one is a conference game means a lot as both teams don’t want to lose any more ground to conference leader Paris in the standings.
Waldron def. LadyCats (25-20, 25-22, 13-25, 20-25, 15-5)
The Lady Bulldogs grabbed an early lead but Brooklyn Zarlingo’s kill and a Kelsey Mikles ace put the LadyCats back in business, leading 6-5. Aleeah Blansett followed with two kills but Waldron then jumped on top 13-9 as the LadyCats had trouble with Waldron’s Mackinzie Callahan. Taylor Miller sought to keep the LadyCats in it with two kills; Keara Ross added another and Zarlingo whacked an ace to put BHS up 19-18. But Waldron closed the game on a 7-1 run. BHS had early control of the second game as Blansett smacked a kill and Zarlingo served another ace, propelling the LadyCats to a 7-2 lead after Miller made three kills in short order. Zarlingo, Ross and Emma Ramey each had a spike to make it 10-4 but WHS erased that lead and Booneville had to start from scratch. An unreturnable serve by Zarlingo and two Miller kills seemingly gave control back to the LadyCats at 17-11 and it looked really good when Zarlingo found the back left corner for 21-16. But the Lady Bulldogs again came back and took the game.
It was even early in the third game but when Ramey got to the serve line Booneville got on a run. Three kills by Blansett, two by Zarlingo and one from Ross made it 17-10 and this time the LadyCats were not giving up the lead. They put it away with a power display as Blansett added a kill and two aces, Ross and Miller each got a spike and Stevey Harrower blistered two aces by the Lady Bulldogs for the game. Waldron grabbed an early lead in the fourth game but by then Blansett, who had struggled in the first two games, was fully awake. She smacked three kills in four points; Zarlingo scored with two aces and Ross added a kill for 15-13. WHS again battled back to tie it at 18 but sophomore Emily Nelson came up big with an ace to start the final rally. Zarlingo ended the game with a kill and forced the decisive game to 15.
Blansett had two early kills in the fifth game but after Miller slammed one home to tie it at 4, the roof fell in. Callahan had a couple of kills in the run—she finished with 15—but the bulk of the deciding 8-0 blitz came on Booneville errors. Waldron finally hit a ball out to stop the rally, but the damage was done and the visitors returned to Scott County with the win.
Miller led Booneville with 14 kills; Blansett had 11 kills and 19 digs with Zarlingo getting 10 kills and 18 digs. Ross had her best night as a LadyCat with eight kills and 15 digs and Maddie Herrera got 37 assists, but Booneville only dug 63% for the match and let Waldron rally at inopportune times.
LadyCats def. Elkins (25-16, 25-18, 25-9)
The Lady Elks had an early 8-5 lead but Kelsey Mikles got BHS back in it with an ace and a back-row kill. A Taylor Miller spike made it 15-11 and with the score 19-16, Elkins committed a hitting error and would not get the serve back because Brooklyn Zarlingo and Emma Ramey made kills and Mikles added another ace to ignite a game-ending 6-0 run. Aleeah Blansett had a kill, Miller added two, and Maddie Herrera added an ace to start the second game in style, but Elkins scored the next five before Blansett restored order with a kill. Later, Zarlingo put away two and Miller scored with an ace, then Ramey and Mikles combined on a block for 12-9. Zarlingo’s ace made it 17-11, then Blansett and Raven McCubbin each got an ace and BHS put the second game to bed when Blansett slammed a spike down with authority.
The third game was over early as Herrera got the first 10 points on her serve. She got four aces and Keara Ross and Miller scored with kills. Mikles would again play a key role later in the game as she had two aces and Zarlingo three kills in a 6-0 run that further put the game out of reach for the Lady Elks. The last Mikes ace made it 20-7 and the LadyCats could coast home with the win.
Blansett had 11 kills, with Zarlingo adding 10 and Miller eight. Herrera handed out 31 assists and served five aces, with Mikles putting away three unreturnable serves and getting two kills also. Blansett did not miss an attack in 15 attempts and Ramey was perfect on digging in eight offerings.