Hostess is using the saying “The Greatest Comeback In The History Of Ever” in their promotions. After Thursday night, the Booneville Lady Cat volleyballers can lay claim to it as well.
After they split the first two games against Paris, Booneville found themselves down by 13 points late in the third set. Incredibly, the Lady Cats fought all the way back to win that set and then went on to win the match (25-20, 22-25, 26-24, 25-23).
“This just hasn’t happened before,” said coach Robert Dean. It was Booneville’s first win over the Lady Eagles since August 29, 2009, and only the second victory over Paris in the program’s history.
Booneville had beaten Lavaca earlier in the week, and on Saturday went to the Mena tournament where they finished second in their pool with a 5-3 game record. They swept Jessieville and Camden Fairview, split with Waldron and lost a pair to eventual champion Mansfield. In bracket play, they found themselves opposite Paris again and it was another good match with the Lady Eagles, but the team to the east came out on top this time.
Still, it was the farthest Booneville had advanced in the tournament. And the Lady Cats will get a third shot at Paris on Saturday when Booneville hosts a quad-match which also brings Clarksville and Lincoln to Bearcat Gym. A rematch with Lavaca follows on Monday before Booneville begins conference play by hosting Malvern the next day.
Lady Cats def. Lavaca (26-24, 25-22, 25-12)
Booneville led most of the early part of the first game, with Whitney Weaver making a shoot, a kill and an ace within the first seven points. Hiley Sage Catlett added two kills to make it 16-14 but Lavaca then rallied to take the lead. Catlett took care of that with two aces but the Arrows refused to fold and grabbed the lead again, gaining a game point at 24-23. But Hannah McClung was able to serve the first game out, including an ace that put BHS in front to stay.
The Lady Cats took a big lead in the second game as, on Raylynn Scott’s serve, she had two aces. Catlett added two kills and Grace Farmer rejected a Lavaca spike for a point and an 8-4 lead. Lavaca came back again to make it close but five different Lady Cats had kills to keep the Arrows just behind them. Farmer, Taylor Bauer and Catlett all had spikes to break Lavaca’s serve and Booneville took the second game. Then Booneville completely dominated game three, with a Scott block setting the table. McClung and Catlett had two aces each and Catlett added five kills in the last game, including the game-winner.
Catlett finished with 11 kills, her third straight match with 10 or more spikes, and added six aces. Jaycie Rodatz added 15 assists and Ashdon Ross had 23 digs for the second match in a row.
Lady Cats def. Paris (25-20, 22-25, 26-24, 25-23)
Booneville fell behind 8-4 early in the first game but a Whitney Weaver kill and two Raylynn Scott aces pulled Booneville closer. Then Hiley Sage Catlett unleashed three straight aces to put Booneville on top 12-9. Paris tied it at 13 and at 14, but Catlett had two more kills and Ashdon Ross added an ace to help keep the Lady Eagles at bay. Catlett had two more aces and Grace Farmer finished off the first game with a kill.
The Lady Cats jumped on top 9-1 in the second game as Ross, Weaver and Catlett all had kills and Jaycie Rodatz added an ace as Booneville seemed ready to blow the Lady Eagles out of the gym. A kill by Weaver made it 12-4, but the Lady Eagles then started to feed the ball to Daisy Mitchell. The result was nine Lady Eagle points in a row and an eventual 16-13 lead for PHS. Booneville was unable to regain any momentum and Paris took that game.
Mitchell continued to be hot in the third game, unleashing some furious kills. The Lady Eagles went on an 11-0 run and even after Hannah McClung got three points on her serve, it was 23-10. But at that point, the Booneville blocking tandem of Scott and Ross got hot. They rejected Mitchell three times in a row to keep Booneville in points. Catlett added two kills but then Paris forced a side-out to obtain a game point at 24-19. Booneville forced a side-out, putting Ross up to serve, and a combination of Paris errors and two aces by Ross gave Booneville a game point. Paris then set it too close to the net and Catlett emphatically put it down for the game.
Perhaps recovering from the rally, Booneville fell behind 4-0 in the fourth game. Two Catlett aces brought the Lady Cats back into the fray but they still trailed 16-12 when Ross came back to the serve line. She promptly racked up an ace and Catlett spiked the ball to start a 4-0 run to tie it at 16. The Lady Eagles retook the lead at 20-19 but Taylor Bauer delivered two key kills to give it back to Booneville. Several side-outs later, Ross returned to serve and promptly delivered a match-winning ace.
Catlett had a lucky seven in three categories — aces, kills and assists — while Ross added five aces. McClung racked up 29 digs in her first match as the libero, while Rodatz made 16 assists.
The Lady Cats drew Jessieville in the first round of pool play and found the Lady Lions to be a much improved team. With the score starting at 7-all, Booneville went down 17-13 before coming back. Grace Farmer had two kills and Taylor Bauer added one to tie the score, then Booneville took the lead. A Bauer kill and a Hannah McClung ace finished the game. The Lady Cats had to come from even farther back in the second game as they were down 18-11, but Farmer had three kills during Whitney Weaver’s serve to put BHS back on top, and Hiley Sage Catlett pounded one down to end it. Farmer had five kills and Bauer added four.
The Lady Cats enjoyed an early lead in the first game against conference foe Waldron thanks to two Catlett kills and a Raylynn Scott block. But Waldron then ran off seven points in a row and went on to take game one. Booneville again took the lead in the second game with Scott getting two kills and a shoot to help the Lady Cats to a 15-8 lead. Catlett had another kill and Booneville went on to win the second game 25-22. Catlett had five kills in the two games.
Booneville had an easy time with Camden Fairview as the Class 5A Lady Cardinals had trouble with the Lady Cat power game. Catlett had two kills, Scott two aces and then Catlett rifled two jump serves that Fairview didn’t even bother to try to return. The only issue was that McClung had become ill, but Nicole Wallace came in and deputized admirably (6 for 6 on digs). Loran Lopez ran off three points on her serve to take the first game. Only two Lady Cats got to serve in game two as Jaycie Rodatz ripped off 11 in a row on her serve, then Ashdon Ross hit four with the help of a Scott block to set up game point which Weaver delivered with a kill. Catlett had six spikes for Booneville.
But Mansfield proved to be a bridge too far. The defending 3A champions, with everyone back, ran off 10 in a row in the first game to take a commanding lead before a Scott kill stopped the blitz. But MHS easily took the first game and Booneville could hold serve only twice in the second game, though their defense kept them in points. Ross and Wallace did a good job keeping it in play, with Ross getting 13 digs and Wallace adding 10.
Booneville was going to play Lake Hamilton unless the Lady Wolves swept Paris in the other pool, and that is exactly what happened, setting up a rematch with the Lady Eagles. Paris scored the first six points and the Lady Cats had trouble finding a foothold in game one. But trailing 20-16, Booneville got four points on Scott’s serve, the last a kill by Catlett that tied it at 20. But Paris scored the next three and went on to win the game 25-22.
The Lady Cats took a 7-4 lead in the second game but Paris answered with four in a row. Weaver got three points on her serve including an ace, then two aces by McClung and kills by Bauer and Ross gave BHS an insurmountable lead. Two more kills from Catlett helped polish off PHS 25-18 to force game three. But leading 5-4, Paris ran off three in a row and Booneville could not hold their serve. It was 13-8 before a Catlett kill gave the ball back to Ross, but there would be no heroics from the sophomore this time. She did get one point back, but Paris got lucky when a poor set dropped just on the Booneville side of the net. A Delaney Wilks kill then ended the match.
Catlett had seven kills and Scott added four for the Lady Cats. Rodatz made 11 assists and a recovered McClung had 17 digs. Catlett was named to the All-Tournament team; she had 20 kills, four aces and 13 assists for the tournament.