The Booneville branch of the Fort Smith Juniors volleyball club made their tournament debut at the Santa Bash in Fort Smith recently.
Both teams made substantial improvement during the tournament as players, especially in the 15-under team, had to play out of position, thereby learning new skills they can apply as they move forward.
Both teams played three matches, with the 13-unders winning their last match against one of the main FSJ teams (25-19, 16-25, 25-18). Paisley Templeman served and dug the ball very well, with Maddie Herrera contributing on the back row and Aleeah Blansett showing more confidence in the front row.
Blansett swatted back several opposition digs that were too close to the net. Abby Wester also registered several kills while Klarissa Ring was counted on for serving accuracy. Hannah Deleon, Jada Jenkins and Jessica Wilkins also contributed to the good showing.
While the 15s did not get a match win improvement was very evident among all players. Abby Glass and Haley Carter, when they had to play the back row, acquitted themselves quite well and when they reached their front-row positions they got several kills each.
AshLeah Craig did a very good job, first as libero and then playing all around after an injury sidelined Casey Townsend in the middle of the second match, reducing the team to six and requiring that everyone play every position.
The 15s came closest in their third match as they played very well before losing 25-27, 23-25. In that match Craig had five aces, with Glass and Brittany Drawbaugh racking up four kills apiece. Craig did not miss a serve throughout the tournament and Drawbaugh missed just one, her last one. Macy Geddes and Abbie Eccles also showed great improvement while Townsend was making great strides until the aforementioned injury.
The teams will take part in the Battle at the Fort next month. Most matches will take place at the Fort Smith Convention Center. The 15s will play on Jan. 25 and 26 with the 13s competing the next weekend.