Athletes often get caught up in looking at their own personal statistics, but that’s not the case for Bentonville’s Emma Palasak and Baylee Barganier.<br><br>
Both passed career statistical milestones earlier this year — Palasak for 1,000 kills and Barganier for 1,000 assists — and didn’t even know it. <br><br>
They were honored Tuesday night for their achievement and presented with golden volleyballs in a surprise ceremony prior to the Lady Tigers’ volleyball match at Tiger Arena.<br><br>
“They had no idea it was coming, very humble, very excited,” Bentonville coach Michelle Smith said.
“It’s a big deal to honor two like this in the same season. To have that come along it’s usually one person a year, but to have two in a year, a setter and a hitter, is really special. It gives our team something to look forward to and the young one’s something to strive for.”<br><br>
Palasak becomes the third Lady Tiger to surpass 1,000 kills, joining Sadie Pate (1,201) and Anna LeDuc (1,017). She currently ranks second with 1,030.
Barganier is also the third to notch 1,000 assists with Rebecca Brown (1,237) and career leader Sayfarth with 2,797. She is also currently second with 1,398.
Both deflected credit to their teammates for helping them reach those marks.<br><br>
“I think it’s more about Baylee delivering for me and Hayley Seyfarth when I was a freshman,” Palasak said. “For them putting me up against maybe one block. I’m grateful to have teammates that work so hard for each other.”<br><br>
Barganier credited her passers for giving her the opportunity to deliver good sets to her hitters.<br><br>
“It’s good to have all these memories,” Barganier said. “I think looking back on this I’m going to realize how lucky I was and how blessed I was to be able to do this for my team and for everyone around me.”<br><br>
Palasak was part of the Lady Tigers’ last state championship as a freshman in 2014. The honor give her even more motivation to end her career with Bentonville’s sixth state title in school history.<br><br>
“It was a sweet surprise and I feel honored,” Palasak said. “It makes me want to reach the next milestone. She said ‘freshman year ring,’ I was thinking the whole time I don’t care about the freshman year ring, I just want the senior year ring.”<br><br>
The Lady Tigers improved to 22-4 overall and 11-1 in the 7A-West with Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Rogers High. The league leaders have two conference matches left against Rogers Heritage and crosstown rival Bentonville West, along with a tournament in Kansas next weekend before the state tournament.<br><br>