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Big day for Callaway’s Carlisle

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

He knew he was seeing something special.

A few years ago, the Callaway girls’ soccer team was playing Troup in West Point, and Point University coach Randy Douglas was in attendance.

“We were there, and got everything set up for them, and I stayed and watched the first half, and it was clear she was the best player on the field that day,” Douglas said.

Carlisle was a sophomore at the time, so when the game ended, Douglas didn’t give the performance much further thought.

Late last year, though, that game came back to Douglas’ mind when Carlisle expressed an interest in the Point soccer program.

“I got an email from her in late November, and I said I remember coming to your game,” Douglas said. “I came to a club-tournament game with the Titans, and she did really well that day. She had two goals, and probably could have had two more against a pretty decent team.”

From there, Douglas went all out in his effort to recruit Carlisle, and that diligence has paid off.

Carlisle, who is in the midst of her senior season at Callaway, has signed a letter of intent to join the soccer program at Point, and she’ll be on the field when the team opens its season this fall.

Last week during a signing celebration in the Callaway High cafeteria, Carlisle was joined by those who have meant so much to her over the years, including family members, friends, teammates and coaches.

It was a special day for Carlisle, who has accomplished so much during her time as a student-athlete at Callaway.

“It means a lot, just to have everybody behind me,” Carlisle said. “I knew no matter what decision I made, they were going to be there.”

Carlisle had some different options, but she is confident that Point is the right place for her.

“We scrimmaged with the girls, and we walked around campus, and I just felt at home, I felt like I’d be able to get along with the girls a lot,” Carlisle said. “I felt like that’s where I needed to go.”

Carlisle has been a two-sport standout at Callaway.

In softball, Carlisle was a four-year starter, and after missing the first half of her senior season with an injury, the shortstop returned with a vengeance and helped lead the team to the first state-tournament win in the history of the program.

Carlisle is a four-year starter in soccer as well, and last spring, she helped that program also win its first-ever state-tournament game.

Unfortunately for Carlisle, she’s out of commission with an injury right now, but she hopes to return within the next week or two.

In the last game before her injury, Carlisle scored five goals in a win over Troup.

Carlisle is part of a group of seniors who have helped elevate the soccer program, and they were all there for her on Friday.

“They’ve meant a lot,” Carlisle said. “Every year we’ve grown stronger and stronger, and we’ve gotten better and better at just working together.”

Shonna Yawn has been Carlisle’s head soccer coach for the past three seasons, and she said “she’s an amazing person, on and off the field.”

“I don’t look at her as just a player,” Yawn added. “We have that bond off the field. She gives me ideas when it comes to what we do on the field. She has a great sense of humor. She’s definitely going to be missed. She’s one of the ones I’ve grown very attached to. This year, watching her graduate and move on to the next chapter of her life is going to be bitter-sweet.”

While Yawn will be sad to see her go, Douglas is looking forward to having Carlisle on campus.

“She’s the whole package,” Douglas said. “There are some real high-character recruits coming in, including her. We’re real excited.”

For the moment, Carlisle is enjoying her remaining time as a high-school student, and she’s eager to get back on the field and join her teammates.

“I’m just trying to make the most of it, have fun, and do what I can,” she said.

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