State time arrives for Lady Cavaliers

Published 12:43 pm Tuesday, April 25, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

HOGANSVILLE – They’re hoping to make history today.

It’s been a successful season for the Callaway Lady Cavaliers (11-6-2), who finished second in Region 5-AA to earn home-field advantage for the opening round of the state soccer playoffs.

If Callaway can beat Rockmart today, it would be the first state-tournament victory in the history of the school’s girls’ soccer program.

The two teams are familiar with one another.

A year ago, the teams were in the same situation, with Callaway hosting Rockmart in a first-round match.

That day didn’t go well for the Lady Cavaliers, who lost 7-0.

Callaway is hoping the rematch yields a better result.

The action gets under way today at 6 p.m.

“We had a really good practice today,” Callaway coach Shonna Yawn said on Monday, the day before the big game. “Everybody’s in good spirits. They’re ready. They feel confident about tomorrow, and they’re ready to get out there.”

A year ago, the Lady Cavaliers were in this same situation.

After finishing second in its region, Callaway was at home against Rockmart, and it was the visiting team coming away with the one-sided win.

Yawn feels the team is in a better place than it was last year.

“One of the things we did different this season is, we did some team-bonding activities outside the field,” Yawn said. “We brought them together and tried to learn about each other. That’s not just for varsity, but for the JV, too, just to kind of get that mentorship with our veteran players. That contributed to the JV being as successful as they were. And it built the confidence in the varsity players. It let each other know we’ve got each other’s backs no matter what happens. We’re still a family, and we’ll be there for each other.”

Among the players hoping to keep the season alive for at least one more game are the five seniors, Brianne Vaught, Acia Stephens, Kyla Montgomery, Destiny Bridges and Myra Kelly.

“Our seniors are definitely looking forward to it,” Yawn said. “This is everything. This could be their last game. They’re not ready for it to end.”

Among the underclassmen is junior Kelly Carlisle, who is the team’s leading scorer.

“She has so many goals, but she takes the opportunity to pass the ball and make sure everybody has the opportunity to score,” Yawn said. “It takes the whole team. A lot of passing, a lot of back-and-forth. It takes that team work.”

If Callaway wins it would play Brooks County or East Laurens in the next round.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Yawn said. “We feel confident going into it. They’ve worked hard this season, and they’ve earned every bit of it.